Revered Iranian-born artist Parviz Tanavoli likes telling stories through his sculptures and paintings. In a major survey of his work at the Vancouver Art Gallery, curator Pantea Haghighi vividly demonstrates this in discussing the first piece, Fallen Poet. The shimmering ceramic sculpture represents the legend of Farhad the Mountain Carver. He fell in love with an Armenian princess, Shirin, in the Sasanian court of King Khosrow II.
Toronto musician Aiko Tomi exudes an untamed creative energy in a recent music video. Wearing black cat ears, a Fendi crop top, a heavy dangling chain, and black knee-high platform boots, she prowls across the screen in “Animal’s Awake”. The title track on her latest album is from the gaze of a boldly physical woman enjoying a wild night out after the pandemic lockdown. But when Tomi speaks to Pancouver over Zoom, she has set aside the glam look.
DJ Dungi Sapor straddles two worlds in her music video for “I Ho Yan”. Traditional and spiritually rich Indigenous vocals are interspersed with a pulsating electronic beat. The same video juxtaposes images of Dungi in her Amis regalia in the forests and along the coastline of Taiwan alongside her as a thoroughly modern DJ in a flashy nightclub.“I Ho Yan” is a modern remix of a traditional Indigenous song from past New Year’s festivals.
This year, Vancouver TAIWANfest has a robust program of visual arts. With the theme of Self-Portraits of Formosa, the festival has three exhibitions in the 700 block of Granville from Saturday through Monday (September 2 to 4). It’s me and wǒ features self-portraits by four Canadian artists of Asian ancestry: Alicia Chen, James Lee Chiahan, Liang Wang, and Tong Zhou. Meanwhile, About Innocence showcases self-portraits by Taiwanese schoolchildren.
When the Dutch East India Company (VOC) left Taiwan in 1662, 38 years of Dutch Colonization forever changed the island and its people. Four hundred years later, Taiwanese people still have mixed emotions when it comes to the identity of Taiwan. Yes, the Dutch are long gone, but where are the Taiwanese going?
Niki Sharma knows that she has benefited enormously from her parents’ sacrifices. Rose and Pal Sharma immigrated from the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh in the 1970s to build a new life in B.C.’s Elk Valley. Sharma’s mom raised four daughters in the small community of Sparwood; her dad worked at a local coal mine for several years. “He was laid off when we were quite young,” Sharma tells Pancouver over Zoom.
Seagrass is a movie for those who like grappling with complexity. In an interview with Pancouver, writer-director Meredith Hama-Brown says that she began with themes relating to siblings. “I had this idea to think about a family going through a divorce,” the Vancouver filmmaker says. “But I really didn’t want to look at divorce specifically.” That’s because she felt that there are already many films centering around whether a family will break apart.
Daniel Lew didn’t set out to be a professional singer-songwriter. Sure, he loved strumming on the guitar after being exposed to this instrument as a nine-year-old at Nestor Elementary School in Coquitlam. Later, as an undergraduate kinesiology student at Simon Fraser University, Lew became serious about composing his own music. “It got to the point where I almost dropped out of my degree just to become a songwriter,” Lew tells Pancouver over Zoom.
Jade Music Festival is a global music industry conference being held in the beautiful city of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. JMF’s inaugural year (2022) goal is to present a majority of Chinese language artists from Canada, in the hopes of giving the Chinese language speaking Canadians the representation and equal opportunities in the Canadian and international music industry they very much deserve.
The artistic and executive director of the frank theatre company, Fay Nass, isn’t Black. And Nass was born in Iran, not Jamaica. Yet the nonbinary queer theatre artist felt compelled to direct Trey Anthony’s play, How Black Mothers Say I Love You, about a Jamaican family in Canada. That’s because of what the upcoming production says about relationships.
There’s a reason we selected Rita Ueda for the online cover on Pancouver’s first anniversary. The Vancouver composer has made it her mission to tell positive, intercultural stories through chamber operas. Ueda’s newest production, I Have My Mother’s Eyes: A Holocaust Memoir Across Generations, will premiere this month at the Chutzpah! Festival.
Vancouver Indigenous Fashion Week founder Joleen Mitton has seen a lot in her life. She’s modelled on runways in Japan, Thailand, Hong Kong, and South Korea. She has been featured in campaigns for Clinique, Vivienne Westwood, and Kenzo.
© 2023 The Society of We Are Canadians Too
The Society of We Are Canadians Too is grateful to be held on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam Indian Band), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish Nation), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh Nation). We acknowledge our privilege to be gathered here, and commit to work with and be respectful to the Indigenous peoples of this land while we engage in meaningful conversations of culture and reconciliation.