Announcing the 13th annual Downtown Eastside Heart of the City Festival and twelve days of music, stories, songs, poetry, cultural celebrations, films, theatre, dance, processions, spoken word, forums, workshops, discussions, gallery exhibitions, public art, mixed media, art talks, history talks and history walks.
The theme of this year’s Festival, Living on Shared Territory, pays tribute to the Downtown Eastside’s founding peoples, cultures and diverse neighbourhoods, as we live, learn and create together on unceded Coast Salish territories under the long shadow of our colonial past and present.
The Festival takes inspiration in part by the words of Chief Robert Joseph, Ambassador, Reconciliation Canada: Our future and the well-being of our children rest with the kind of relationships we build today.
A special feature this year is the installation of the 27 ft. Survivors Totem Pole in Pigeon Park at Hastings and Carrall. In the words of pole carver Skundaal Bernie Williams (Haida/Coast Salish), this grass roots initiative led by Sacred Circle Society “honours the many people who have arrived and lived in the Downtown Eastside as survivors.”
Other Festival highlights include: Realms of Refuge, an evolving gallery project produced in partnership with Jumblies Theatre (Ontario) that brings to life miniature worlds and explores the different ways we find sanctuary in the places where we live; the premiere of Metamorphose, a community-engaged dance production by Karen Jamieson Dance and the Carnegie Dance Troupe that explores transformation, creation and imagination through dance; and the always popular Carnegie Jazz Band.
The mandate of the Downtown Eastside Heart of the City Festival is to promote, present and facilitate the development of artists, art forms, cultural traditions, history, activism, people and great stories about Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. The festival involves a wide range of professional, community, emerging and student artists, and lovers of the arts. Over 1,000 local artists and Downtown Eastside residents participated in last year’s 2015 Festival.
Many events are free or by suggested donation. Visit http://www.heartofthecityfestival.com for full details. Leading up to the festival, check out our thoughts on the top must see events!