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Sikh Heritage Month launches in B.C. with public awareness campaign exploring Sikh identity and youth art exhibit

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Series of events in April invite British Columbians to celebrate the arts, heritage and culture of Sikh Canadians

Sikh Heritage Month BC has launched a series of public awareness videos and premiere arts event – The Revival – to showcase the thriving arts and culture scene among Sikh youth in BC and educate British Columbians about BC’s diverse Sikh community.

“This last year showed us, as a community in BC and Canada, we continue to be vulnerable to harmful stereotypes and the people who are most harmed by them are our young people,” says Jasleen Sidhu, Vice-President of UBC & SFU Sikh Students Association and spokesperson, Sikh Heritage Month. “This is an opportunity for us to tell our own stories, celebrate our contributions and our community’s diversity – and share experiences with all British Columbians.”

Public awareness videos will also roll out over digital platforms that are designed to educate and raise awareness of the diversity that exists within the Sikh community, especially among those who chose to be visible Sikhs and wear the articles of the Sikh faith.

A series of videos launched today demonstrate this diversity – from the experiences of Pat Singh Cheung, volunteer with Guru Nanak’s Free Kitchen to Jai Sanghera, a Canadian karate champion who secured the right for male athletes to compete internationally with a head covering.

“Sikh articles of faith are often misunderstood, even though Sikhs and their visible identities, have been a part of Canada for well over 100 years,” says Koml Kandola, Advisor, Sikh Heritage Month.

“We want to take away the mystery and stereotypes surrounding Sikh identity and allow four different Sikh-Canadians to express how their distinct identity reflects their values and guides how they serve their communities.”

This weekend, Surrey City Hall will host The Revival – featuring the work of local artists, poets, musicians and authors, from March 30-31.

The Revival focuses on how local Sikh-Canadian artists explore and reflect on their identities and seeks to bridge the gap between diasporic audiences and the classical Sikh arts.

The event aspires to allow artists to showcase their work, while they explore different media and celebrate the growing Sikh arts community. Art by local artists will be on display and up for auction, with hundreds expected to take in the event over the course of two evenings.

“We received such a tremendous response last year that it encouraged us to grow the art exhibition this year to include more work by local artists, spoken word poetry and classical music,” said Danish Brar, Sikh Heritage Month organizing committee. Following the launch of The Revival, we are working with other community partners – from the South Asian Studies at the University of the Fraser Valley to the Nameless Collective – to broaden the reach and appeal of our events.”

Historian and playwright Paneet Singh and Milan Singh will host “Histories, Mysteries and Mischief: A Walking Tour of Kitsilano” describing an era when sawmills and Sikh homes lined False Creek, and Sikh-Canadians faced key struggles such as retaining the right to vote, immigration reform, and labour unrest. Human rights advocacy group, the World Sikh Organization, hosts “KaursVote” to encourage the political participation of Sikh women at the local and national level. The Sikh Research Institute will host a #MeToodiscussion. A Finale Gala on April 26 at Aria Banquet Hall will close off the month with a Kirtan (poetry sung to music) on Sunday April 28.

The series of videos launched today play a larger role in the public awareness campaign to decrease the exoticization of Sikh-Canadians and allow for the Sikhs to convey their own unique experience as Sikhs living in Canada.

The series of videos are available on the Sikh Heritage Month BC website after the successful Media Launch today and mark the start of Sikh Heritage Month 2019. Sikh Heritage Month events and the public awareness campaign will continue throughout April. Information on Sikh Heritage Month and partner events is on the website: sikhheritagemonthbc.ca

About Sikh Heritage Month BC

Sikh Heritage Month launched in BC in 2018, with the purpose of celebrating the contributions and aspirations of all Sikh-Canadians and develop a greater understanding and appreciation of the community’s rich, unique and diverse heritage. Sikhs have been in BC for over 100 years and Sikh Heritage Month BC is an opportunity to showcase their contribution to the economic, social, and cultural fabric of the province. This initiative was spearheaded by the Sikh Students’ Association (SSA) of UBC (established in 1985) and the SSA at SFU (established in 1999). The Sikh Student Associations allow UBC and SFU to connect with each other and Sikhi, providing positive company and methods to help manage student life while making impactful contributions in their communities.

Surrey604 is an online magazine and media outlet based in Surrey, BC. Through writing, video, photography, and social media, we secure an intimate reach to the public. We promote local events and causes.

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Arts and Entertainment

Showcasing Life in Self-Isolation, Vancouver Photographer Publishes Self-Portrait Photo Book

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Me Myself and I: A Whimsical Look at Life in Lockdown

Vancouver concert photographer, Christopher Edmonstone, has launched a 50-page, full-colour photo book depicting life in pandemic driven self-isolation, titled Me Myself and I: A Whimsical Look at Life in Lockdown. With a complete shutdown of much of his usual subject matter, he turned his lens on the one person he was with all the time – himself.

As an opportunity to stay occupied and continue to grow creatively, he has layered his unique visual aesthetic onto his experiences of isolation in a unique and humorous way. The images feature Edmonstone x3 (Me Myself and I) doing everything from making bread and incessantly checking the fridge and cupboards hoping a snack will suddenly appear, to doing battle with monstrously big coronaviruses with a mop and wet wipes.

For over 10 years, Edmonstone has been known to be out and about multiple nights a week capturing local and international artists in all their glory, however COVID-19 replaced his regular concert-going lifestyle with one of quarantines and lockdowns. As he explains, “to say 2020 upended my life is an understatement.” However, one thing that did not change was his passion for creating striking images.

At the height of the pandemic, Edmonstone began documenting a somewhat humorous take at his life in self-isolation. What resulted is a beautiful 50 page, full-colour, hardcover book entitled, Me Myself and I: A Whimsical Look at Life in Lockdown.

“The photographs are presented chronologically and definitely evolve from the everyday routine into the surreal, with a recurring theme of being trapped in isolation. It was a ton of fun to make these photographs even if the circumstances that are bringing them about are grim,” shared Edmonstone.

“Finding an interesting way to document my life in lockdown provided a much needed diversion from the world raging outside my door and it felt good to be productive again. It also gave me the occasion to actually put some pants on, because let’s face it, most people were lounging about in boxers or sweatpants at home, whether they were working or not.”

Vancouver historian, author and showman, Aaron Chapman also shared his thoughts on the book, as well as providing the foreword. ”As you can see through these pages, the images of what I like to call the ‘Edmonstone Triplets’ and their lockdown survival is both surreal and whimsical—but there’s also a truth presented for those of us who lived through the pandemic we will easily identify and see in ourselves.

It’s all here—the endless cleaning, endless laundry, going back to the refrigerator to see what’s there and hasn’t changed. Did any of us expect we’d all have a go at so much baking? So much cooking? So many hours lying awake at night on our smart-phones? So much, just, hanging around at home…?”

Having made the decision to self-publish, Edmonstone’s book is now available for purchase on his Kickstarter page, which boasts a number of levels and ways to support through the campaign. A fantastic coffee table book, years from now when people ask how you survived the pandemic, you can show them this book and think back on all the COVID craziness you endured.

“I decided to self-publish a beautiful hardcover book because when I lose my mind I will have this book to help explain what happened,” teased Edmonstone. “This could likely be the only time that my bare ass will be in print so don’t miss your chance on this one.”

For more information, please visit Christopher Edmonstone’s Kickstarter page.

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Surrey Art Gallery gets face-to-face with current moment in new exhibit

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January 23−March 27, 2021
Winter Launch with Patrick Cruz, Qian Cheng, and Francis Cruz

Saturday, January 30 | 6:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Artists and Curators in Conversation: Saturday, February 27 | 2:00 p.m. –3:00 p.m.

Surrey, BC – Surrey Art Gallery ushers in the New Year with a group exhibit titled Facing Time opening Saturday, January 23 and launching the following Saturday, January 30 with a live Instagram event from 6:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

The human face reveals a lot about someone. From smiling or frowning to more complex expressions of hope, fear, or approval, the face is how people read others. During this pandemic, faces have taken on heightened significance. Most interactions with others happen virtually. Masks cover much of people’s faces, leaving communication up to the eyes.

Jack Shadbolt, Untitled, 1986, drawing: graphite on paper. Surrey Art Gallery permanent collection.

Deborah Putman, Vefele Looks in the Mirror, 2009, acrylic on canvas. Surrey Art Gallery permanent collection.

In Facing Time, Surrey Art Gallery invites the public to get up close to collages of archival portraits, psychological portraiture, altered faces from art history as art stamps, photographs of amateur baseball players, drawings of aged faces suffering from illness, needlepoint representations of French philosophers, terracotta heads, and artworks that use social media as a medium, to name a few examples in this show drawn from the Gallery’s permanent collection and from loans.

The artworks in this exhibition, while mostly created before the pandemic, speak to the current moment of facial interfaces and increased digital activity. Time shrinks as people scroll through faces on social media, join another video conference meeting, and catch up with family and friends in the same or different time zones via video calls. More and more personal devices use digital facial recognition software for identification and surveillance. Selfies still abound.

Surrey Art Gallery Curator of Exhibitions and Collections Jordan Strom says, “Contemporary art can reimagine how we represent ourselves and think about facial communication both now and in the future. This exhibition examines the many creative and critical ways in which artists have sought to capture the human face over the past 50 years.”

Surrey Art Gallery invites you to look at the human face—in all its beauty, pain, and complexity—and to consider these questions with them this winter.

Jaswant Guzder, Prayer spaces and portrait 1, 2016, ink, cloth on natural linen. Courtesy of the artist.

Other exhibitions at the Gallery include Art by Surrey Secondary Students, a display of collages, drawings, and paintings from local youth (opens February 6) and Carol Sawyer: Proscenium, a video installation about illusion, trickery, and performance (closes February 14).

At UrbanScreen, Surrey Art Gallery’s outdoor art site, the Flavourcel collective will launch a new experimental animation project on February 6.

On Saturday, January 30 from 6:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., join Surrey Art Gallery staff on Instagram Live @surreyartgal for a casual introduction to the exhibit and a performance by Patrick Cruz, Qian Cheng, and Francis Cruz. On Saturday, February 27 from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., exhibiting artist Jaswant Guzder will discuss portraiture and faces with curator Jordan Strom.

This live event will take place on the Gallery’s Facebook and Youtube pages. The Gallery is open for pre-booked tours of Facing Time on select days: Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Phone the Gallery at 604-501-5566 (press 1) or email artgallery@surrey.ca to book.

Diane Burgoyne, He Transmits, She Receives, 1987, mixed media sculpture. Surrey Art Gallery permanent collection. Photo by Cameron Heryet.

Participating Artists:

Durrah Alsaif, Simranpreet Anand, Rebecca Bair, Lorna Brown, Diana Burgoyne, Chila Kumari Burman, Audrey Capel-Doray, Qian Cheng, Lincoln Clarkes, Share Corsault, Patrick Cruz, Francis Cruz, Eryne Donahue.

Tom Douglas, R.W. Eastcott, Soheila Esfahani, Gabor Gasztonyi, Barry Goodman, Jaswant Guzder, Brian Howell, Jim Jardine, Bill Jeffries, Doreen Jensen, Ali Kazimi, Ann Kipling, Laura Wee Láy Láq, George Littlechild, Ken Lum, Al McWilliams, Elizabeth MacKenzie, María Angélica Madero.

Chito Maravilla, Sally Michener, my name is scot, David Neel, Al Neil, Mark Neufeld, George Omorean, Leslie Pool, Deborah Putman, Marianna Schmidt, Jack Shadbolt, Drew Shaffer, Hari Sharma, Stephen Shore, Jarnail Singh, Jeannette Sirois, Manuel Axel Strain, Ed Varney, Carrie Walker, Jin-me Yoon

About Surrey Art Gallery

Internationally recognized for its award-winning programs, Surrey Art Gallery, located at 13750 88 Avenue in Surrey, is the second largest public art museum in Metro Vancouver. Founded in 1975, the Gallery presents contemporary art by local, national, and international artists, including digital and audio art.

Its extensive public programs for children through to adults aim to engage the public in an ongoing conversation about issues and ideas that affect our communities and to provide opportunities to interact with artists and the artistic process. Admission is free.

Surrey Art Gallery gratefully acknowledges the financial assistance of the City of Surrey, Province of BC through BC Arts Council, Canada Council for the Arts, and the Surrey Art Gallery Association.

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Vancouver International South Asian Film Festival Goes Virtual This Year

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The Vancouver International South Asian Film Festival (VISAFF) is bringing some cheer to 2020 with this year’s festival adapting to the times and going virtual to entertain you. The festival will run from December 11-13, showcasing 10 films and various panel discussions and workshops.

VISAFF is in it’s the tenth year and has been one of the annual highlights in the South Asian Community. The festival has added some glitz and glamour to the Lower Mainland with Bollywood celebrities and filmmakers making appearances over the years.

While this year is very different from all the others due to the pandemic, VISAFF still promises maximum entertainment with a selection of fantastic films and panel discussions. The festival opens with the not-to-be-missed screening of feature film White Elephant, a self-love story, followed by a panel discussion with the cast and crew.

The other films lined up for the festival are Showstopper, Odd Girl, The Wingless, Prisoner, One Last Shot, Infinite 8, The Interview and Bonded, with Behind the Bhangra Boys as the special closing film.

The festival promises 100 percent Canadian content this year. It will culminate with The Special Edition – a fireside chat between Raj Arneja who is the Director of Corporate Engagement and Philanthropy and Co-owner of Nanak Foods and Author of Love at First Sight – A Mother’s Journey to Adoption, and Colby Sharma LL.B., self-published author of The Curveball and son of leadership expert and writer Robin Sharma.

“During these unprecedented times, we would like to ensure that Canadian filmmakers are highlighted on virtual platforms through VISAFF, says festival producer Mannu Sandhu.

“Many South Asian cultural activities were cancelled over the past few months, so we made it our priority to create a program where the community can come together digitally and at no cost to our viewers.”

For more information about VISAFF, schedule and access to the virtual festival, please visit www.visaff.ca.

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Imagine Van Gogh Comes to Vancouver February 2021

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Opening in February 2021

Register now and gain access to the Exclusive Pre-Sale!

Vancouver / Thursday, November 26th, 2020 – Imagine Van Gogh, the ORIGINAL immersive exhibition from Europe featuring more than 200 of the Dutch artist’s paintings, is coming to Vancouver in February 2021 to the award-winning Vancouver Convention Centre. The convention centre offers one of the most beautiful settings in Canada’s Pacific Gem and has convenient access to all the major visitor amenities in the downtown core. Imagine Van Gogh has sold more than 300,000 tickets in Canada this year in Montreal, Quebec City, and in Winnipeg and is now ready to debut in Vancouver.

With the safety of guests, employees and the community as the highest priority, Imagine Van Gogh will open in February 2021 in accordance with the public health guidelines in British Columbia.

Created by French Artistic Directors Annabelle Mauger and Julien Baron, famous for their immersive exhibits Cathédrale d’Images in Les Baux-de-Provence, Imagine Van Gogh was presented first by Encore Productions in France, where it amazed audiences with its grandiose and immersive concept of Total Image; the viewer is literally transported on a journey to the heart of the artist’s work. The exhibit brings Van Gogh’s canvases to life in a vivid, spectacular way: the audience will literally enter the artist’s world of dreams.

“Original canvasses are expanded and fragmented, then projected into unusual shapes to emphasize the mesmerizing exaggerations and distortions of Van Gogh’s work. Visitors experience their energy, emotion, and beauty like never before,” says Annabelle Mauger.

During its first Canadian stops in Montreal and Quebec City, the unique Imagine Van Gogh exhibition received widespread praise. Before closing in March, Montreal received close to 200,000 visitors and thereafter 75,000 in Quebec City this past summer – during a pandemic! The presentation is currently underway in Winnipeg and has now been extended to the end of December due to incredible demand despite limitations around COVID-19.

Paquin Entertainment Group and Tandem Expositions, in conjunction with Encore Productions (France) are excited to bring this spectacular production to Vancouver for the very first time. Like Montreal, Quebec City, and Winnipeg the show is sure to be an exceptional success and the highlight of the 2021 arts season on the West Coast.

Register now at: www.imaginevangogh.com and get exclusive access to presale information in order to purchase tickets prior to the public on sale.

Exceptional COVID-19 Measures

The health of our guests, staff, and community remains our highest priority. The exhibition is a contactless experience. A limited number of guests will be allowed in on a timed-entry basis, hand sanitizer will be provided, physical distancing of two meters will be required, and masks will be mandatory upon entering. The exhibition will adhere to all safety guidelines established by the B.C. government.

Pascal Bernardin Encore Productions

After promoting and working with some of the biggest Artists (Bob Marley, The Police, Michael Jackson, The Rolling Stones, Madonna, Supertramp, Sting), Pascal Bernardin created Encore Productions in 1987 to start bringing Family shows to his markets (Disney on Ice, Mamma Mia, The Walking Dinosaurs).

Encore Productions joined the Fimalac Entertainment group in 2014 to present the most successful International Expositions such as The Titanic, The Art of The Brick, Jurassic World, Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, Imagine Van Gogh and Imagine Picasso. The success of these expositions is due to the subjects, artists, partners, and the quality of production which brings the audience a unique and memorable experience.

Fimalac Entertainment:

Through a unique set of skills and infrastructures, Fimalac Entertainment includes nine companies specializing in production and management for artists and artistic projects, a diversity of 22 equipment’s (performance halls, congress and exhibition centers), 7 Parisian theatres and a service of support functions (financial, legal, human resources, booking, marketing, sponsorship and ticketing).

Tandem Expositions

Paul Dupont-Hébert who is President of Tandem Expositions is no stranger to the Quebec Cultural Scene. Friend and Agent of Francis Cabrel for more than 40 years, he has produced many musicals in Quebec, including the world-acclaimed musical Notre Dame de Paris.

He is also behind the success of Imagine Van Gogh in Montreal and Quebec City. After the success of these markets he is looking forward to bringing the exhibition across Canada and internationally.

Paquin Entertainment Group

Established in 1985, Paquin Entertainment Group is a leading, full-service North American arts and entertainment company with offices operating in Winnipeg, Toronto, Vancouver, and Nashville. Paquin Entertainment Group is home to a diverse portfolio including, artist agency and management, film and television, theatrical production, and touring exhibitions.

Since its inception, Paquin Entertainment Group’s core vision remains unchanged: to foster a creative culture that seeks and develops the world’s premier artists and productions.

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What Sorts of Events Could Use a Magician?

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Live entertainment can be a fantastic way to improve your event. Not only does live entertainment provide guests with something to do and watch while at the event, but it also can go a long way in improving the overall atmosphere. Common live entertainment options usually include singers, bands, and dancers, which people are typically accustomed to.

However, one “magical” live entertainment option is to hire a magician. Magicians are truly unique entertainment options, pulling off stunts and tricks that you’ll never see from other live entertainers.

That being said, magicians aren’t perfect for every type of event, as they fill a niche role. So if you’re looking to book a magician as a live entertainer, how can you know if they’ll be a good fit? Let’s take a look at what sort of events could use a magician.

Corporate Events

One of the best types of events for magicians to perform at are corporate events. Rather than hiring a cookie-cutter performer like a singer or band, an employer can hire a much more unique entertainment option in a magician.

A magician can add charm and excitement, something that can be sorely lacking at some corporate events. Magicians can also be great at getting an audience engaged and socializing, getting your employees to mingle and be involved rather than stand by themselves.

Hiring a unique choice like a magician for your corporate event shows that you are a committed employer that is dedicated to bringing unique experiences to your employees. Your employees will surely enjoy being exposed to something they may have never had the pleasure of experiencing before. As a result, they’ll be much more likely to be happy with the corporate event.

School Assemblies

Another great type of event for magicians to perform at is large school assemblies. Assemblies provide the perfect opportunity for magicians to perform for a wide variety of reasons.

First, the event provides a large crowd that will be extremely fixated on the magician. Regardless of whether they’re performing at an elementary school or a high school, students would much rather watch a magician perform than go back to doing work.

In addition, children and young adults are some of the people that have the easiest time suspending their disbelief. Suspension of disbelief is extremely important when performing magic tricks, as magicians want the audience to feel like they’re truly magical.

When performing at an assembly, children and young adults will love seeing a magician’s tricks, and they’ll be absolutely flabbergasted. Seeing the joy and wonder on their faces will be well worth it.

Parties

When people traditionally think of party entertainment, they think of singers, DJs, dancers, and bands. Magicians aren’t usually lumped into that group and are thought of as entertainers that perform in much more rigid and structured events.

That being said, magicians can still be used to great effects during parties. In fact, a party setting can allow a magician to combine many different types of magic tricks and experiment with how they work. First, a magician may start out on a stage performing standard magic tricks in front of a crowd. Not only does the magician entertain guests, but they also serve as a focal point and conversation piece for the party.

After the performance is over, the magician can walk around and mingle with guests. During this time period, the magician can reveal some different kinds of tricks, namely sleight of hand tricks that require the magician to be up close and personal. In most settings, these types of tricks would be impossible, but a party setting provides the perfect opportunity.

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