Short Bio (please use for introductions)
A wordslinger and healer from the Bikol diaspora, Lukayo Estrella is based on the territories of the Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee, and Wyandot, and currently resides and travels between the cities of Toronto and Ottawa, Canada. Their poetry has been shouted out on national spoken word stages and whispered into local crowded classrooms. Their words have taken up space in newspapers, magazines, and an anthology called Out Proud: Stories of Pride, Courage, and Social Justice. Lived experience and research ground their interactive workshops of liberation, while faith in collective impact informs their organizing and spiritual counselling. Ultimately, Lukayo seeks to creatively support communities with their words and actions for collaborative growth.
Hearkening to the ancient makata Kadungung of their native Bikol, Lukayo Estrella calls in the past to inform the present through a poetic panoply of possibilities. They competed at the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word twice as part of an Ottawa team and a Wild Card team. In 2011, they helped coach the Ottawa Youth Poetry Slam Team. Their poetry workshops focus on using personal experiences and imagination to foster resiliency and empowerment. When Lukayo presents motivational keynote speeches at assemblies, their poetry weaves together stories into an overall message of triumph and hope.
As a writer who harbours secret manuscripts in dusty drawers, Lukayo Estrella is typically published because of their clever or timely non-fiction pieces. The Daily Xtra and 2B Magazine have first dibs to several of Lukayo’s articles, while Breakwater Books accepted one of their essays in the anthology entitled Out Proud: Stories of Pride, Courage, and Social Justice.
Workshops are beloved by Lukayo, as this gives them an opportunity to listen as much as speak. Whether it’s about gender diversity, healthier relationships, or anti-oppression– Lukayo’s workshops offer an interactive experience tailored to a variety of learning styles and collective objectives.
Whether it’s organizing a conference, hosting a show, presenting poetry, writing an article, or staring deeply and consensually into your eyes, Lukayo seeks to support the growth of individuals and communities. They are currently based on the territories of the Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee, and Wyandot, and currently resides and travels between the cities of Toronto and Ottawa, Canada
Partial or full proceeds of all of Lukayo’s works go to grassroots collectives that support Pilipino/Pilipinx liberation, indigenous sovereignty (in recognition of the territory and land), and Black liberation (in recognition of the historical and ongoing roots of spoken word in Black culture). Examples: Native Youth Sexual Health Network, Black Lives Matter (Toronto and Ottawa chapters), Migrante (Toronto and Ottawa chapters), Anakbayan (Toronto and Ottawa chapters), Centre for Babaylan Studies, etc.
This website would not have been possible without the generous support of the Ontario Arts Council’s Access and Career Development Grant.