Cultural Calendar

Welcome to the new year everyone! It’s a time for new beginnings, fresh starts and exciting opportunities. Whether you’re making resolutions, setting goals or simply looking forward to what the future holds, we wish you all the best in the year ahead. Why not check out some of the events happening below this month? Here’s to a wonderful 2023!

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Pictures of You: An Exhibition of Portraits

Jan. 4–28

Portraiture is a very old art form going back at least to ancient Egypt, where it flourished from about 5,000 years ago. Before the invention of photography, a painted, sculpted or drawn portrait was the only way to record the appearance of someone. This exhibition embraces this idea and expands on it. Some works are clear representations of a person, and some are not so clear and more about the idea of a person’s visual representation.

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Instantaneous Blue

Jan. 6–22

Mitch and Murray Productions presents the world premiere of Instantaneous Blue by Aaron Craven from Jan. 6 to 22 at The Waterfront Theatre on Granville Island. The play follows Edward and Sara as they navigate the journey of welcoming their first child into life while shepherding Edward’s declining parents out of it. Their relationship frays as they maneuver the endless challenges of a disease that is God-like in its mysterious ways. Caught between the worlds of assembling IKEA baby cribs and visiting gerontologists, between finding time for sex and searching the city for a lost mother, and between navigating professional obligations and familial disaster, Sara and Edward are pushed to the emotional brink. Will they or won’t they make it through?

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Mental Health and Psychosocial Support of People Displaced in Humanitarian Settings: Lessons Learned

Jan. 12, 5–6:30 p.m.

Mark van Ommeren will provide an overview of Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) in large humanitarian crises, including forced displacement, and outline what the World Health Organization sees as the minimum actions to be conducted by the health sector in any large disaster or conflict. He will also discuss the dilemma of trade-offs in priority settings in terms of impacts on suffering, human rights and equity, and what this means for research and practice.

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The Willful Plot

Jan. 12–April 16

The Willful Plot is a site of tension between wild and cultivated, temporal and perpetual, public and private, sovereign and colonized. | Photo by Gabi Dao

The Willful Plot brings together artists’ practices to expand the notion of the garden as a site of tension between wild and cultivated, temporal and perpetual, public and private, sovereign and colonized. Here, the garden is considered by the artists not only as a delineated patch of earth, but as a story and a will to drive that story to complicate the way in which cultures and individuals see themselves in relation to ecology, sociality, belief and possibility. It is an opportunity to look at human relationships with land, flora, fauna and their interrelatedness. In its willfulness, the resistance garden is a counter-site, a heterotopia for alternative cultivation and potential transformation. Artists include Derya Akay and Vivienne Bessette, Gabi Dao, Derek Jarman, Charmian Johnson, Glenn Lewis, Mike MacDonald, Rehab Nazzal and Dana Qaddah.

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Rebecca Belmore: Hacer Memoria

Opening Jan. 14

Hacer Memoria is an outdoor sculpture that will extend along the top of The Polygon Gallery’s east-facing façade. This public artwork consists of nine oversized blue and orange shirts sewn from tarpaulins The long-sleeved shirts, which hang in a row with the backs facing out, are each emblazoned with a single letter. Together the letters spell “hereafter.” There will be an Opening celebration led by Sempúlyan Gonzales at 3:00 p.m. on Jan. 14. For more information, check out the gallery’s website.

In-progress view of Rebecca Belmore’s Hacer Memoria. | Photo by Henri Robideau

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Vancouver Gluten Free Expo 2023

Jan. 14–15

On the weekend of Jan. 14, the Vancouver Convention Centre at Canada Place will host the Gluten Free Expo featuring numerous exhibitors, cooking demonstrations, dietitian presenters and, of course, plenty of tasty gluten free culinary dishes to sample. Listen to presentations from registered dietitians helping you to create healthier diets, and watch chefs create healthy gluten free versions of beer, pizza, perogies, breads and more. For tickets and further information, please check out their website.

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Jan. 17–21, 8 p.m.

DanceHouse and The Cultch will present the Canadian premiere of Circa’s enthralling and acrobatic Sacre, on stage Jan. 17–21 at 8 p.m. at the Vancouver Playhouse. Directed by Yaron Lifschitz, Artistic Director and CEO of Circa, Sacre is a spellbinding exploration of humanity’s inter-connectivity, our inherent sexual desire and our complex relationship with divinity. Inspired by Igor Stravinsky’s seminal production The Rite of Spring, the full-length work from Australia’s leading contemporary circus company is an intricate blend of balletic lines and athletic feats, infused with pulsating and dissonant elements of a reimagined Stravinsky score.

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PuSh Festival

Jan. 19–Feb. 5

The PuSh Festival returns to Vancouver in 2023 to showcase innovative and transformative art. The 2023 program hopes to encourage the necessity of art in a time of crisis. Featuring works that face challenging truths with empathy, embodiment and communion, this year’s Festival line-up helps us situate ourselves in the complexity of the human experience. For a complete list of current shows and event details, please visit the festival’s website.

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Thy Neighbour’s Wife

Jan. 19–Feb. 12

The United Players of Vancouver will be performing Thy Neighbour’s Wife at the Jericho Arts Centre. The scene is Canada, 1915. This play centres around the true story of the first woman who was sentenced to hang in Alberta for a crime that, when a similar one was committed by a man, was seen as “defending the decency of his home.” A frank and scrutinizing look at marriage, manners, money and murder.

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What Are Our Supports?

Jan. 21, 2 p.m.

Please join the SFU School for the Contemporary Arts to celebrate the launch of What Are Our Supports?, an anthology with over 20 local and international contributors. Co-edited by Joni Low and Jeff O’Brien, the book is based on a series of artist group’s projects in Vancouver’s Cathedral Square Park curated by Low in 2018. Featuring artist reflections, commissioned poems and essays, reprinted texts and additional artworks, the anthology highlights the need to reinvigorate sustainable, alternative support networks for artists and communities during uncertain times, now intensified by our global pandemic and human-induced climate crisis. How do artists make perceptible the underrecognized and foundational supports that will continue to guide us through precarity? What can we learn through the practice of being human, and through the quests of art?