Cultural Calendar

As the vibrant hues of summer transition into the warm embrace of autumn, Vancouver comes alive with a tapestry of events and festivals. Crisp air carries the promise of cozy sweaters and pumpkin-spiced delights as the streets echo with the laughter of friends and families gathering to enjoy the myriad of cultural happenings. Whether you’re wandering through the art exhibitions, immersing yourself in the drama of the theatre or dancing the night away at a seasonal festival, September is a time to revel in the magic of transition and embrace the essence of community and togetherness.

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Christine Mackenzie: All My Relations

Sept. 8–Oct. 26

Sonja Ahlers, Rabbit Queen, 2020, mixed media, 16” x 16 1/2”. | Photo courtesy of Sonja Ahlers.

This exhibition, being held at the Place des Arts and curated by First Nations artist and educator Christine Mackenzie, intends to uplift Indigenous and Métis artists of various backgrounds and celebrate different styles of Indigenous and Métis art in a variety of mediums. Each exhibiting artist is on their own artistic path. For some, Christine is a guide and mentor on their journey and for others with an established style, she is a connector and curator. The theme of this exhibition is Mother Earth. We can all identify with the natural world regardless of our culture or background. Through this exhibition, they also hope to inspire self-exploration, dialogue, learning and sharing.

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Classification Crisis

Sept. 9–Nov. 5

For thirty years, Victoria-based artist Sonja Ahlers has been making books in her distinct visual idiom that is equal parts collage and poetry. Classification Crisis, a major survey of her career, emerged from Ahlers’s project of the last half-decade to prepare her archive. The exhibition includes her Riot Grrrl zines of the nineties, one-of-a-kind chapbooks spanning thirty years, a decade of unseen work after she “quit art” in the wake of the Vancouver art boom, and other artworks and ephemera from a career of collecting images and scraps of language. Check out the Richmond Art Gallery’s website for more information about the exhibit.

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Intimacy and Distances

Sept. 9–Nov. 10

They Found Us by Christine Mackenzie. | Photo courtesy of Place des arts.

Intimacy and Distances, Tokyo based interdisciplinary artist Maiko Jinushi’s first solo exhibition in Canada, consists of four short video works and preliminary drawings. For over a decade, Maiko Jinushi has been creating video works internationally, as a visual form of literary experience, exploring the relationship with others in unique ways through dialogue and collaborative performance with various artists. Jinushi’s distinctive work reflects the exchange of invisible energy that is not directly spoken or seen, through intimate conversations and exchanges of actions between herself and others. The video works in this exhibition, composed of shorter pieces, poems and essays, describe her unique intimate gaze and the insurmountable distance between her and others.

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Cultural Humility in an Age of Growth

Sept. 14, 6–7:30 p.m.

The current “psychedelic renaissance” has seen both renewed interest in the therapeutic potential of traditional plant medicines, and a rise in cultural appropriation and infringements on Indigenous Peoples’ rights in this burgeoning industry. Potowatomi Woman and Truth and Reconciliation Consultant Kim Haxton will join Sussan Yáñez, Mapuche, Andean, Euroamerican Cultural Facilitator, in a discussion on culturally respectful approaches to Indigenous knowledges and concrete actions that can be taken to curtail harm. Drawing on their ongoing research, they will share insights into walking with plant medicines, and how this can diminish the collateral damages to Indigenous Peoples and communities.

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stɑl̓əw̓ pow wow

Sept. 15–17

The stɑl̓əw̓ Arts and Cultural Society will be hosting the second annual stɑl̓əw̓ pow-wow from Sept. 15 – 17 at the Langley Events Centre. The purpose of the pow-wow is to celebrate Indigenous culture, traditions, music, regalia and art. It is a time to celebrate and preserve the rich heritage and keep traditional Indigenous ways alive. They welcome you to share in the experience of learning the important role tradition plays and how these traditions define Indigenous culture. For more information, check out their website.

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Car Free Vancouver

Sept. 16 & 24, 12 noon to 7 p.m.

Since 2008, Car Free Vancouver Society has hosted Car Free Days along various main streets to nurture and grow the car free culture. By blocking off major thoroughfares, Car Free Days gave people the chance to experience what cities could be like with more space for pedestrians, not cars. In 2023, Car Free Vancouver Society is committed to car free spaces that grow inclusivity and diversity, making our communities healthier and more vibrant. The upcoming Car Free Days include Main St. on Sept. 16 and Denman St. on Sept. 24.

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Emicida AmarElo

Sept. 22, 10 p.m.

The highly acclaimed Brazilian musician, Emicida, will be making his debut on Canadian soil as part of his first-ever Canadian tour on Sept. 22! Emicida’s fusion of hip-hop, rap and Brazilian rhythms is a musical journey like no other. His thought-provoking messages and socially conscious themes resonate with audiences of all backgrounds, making him one of the most important contemporary Brazilian musicians. For tickets and more information, please visit the ShowPass website.

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Culture Days

Sept. 22–Oct. 15

Culture Days is a national celebration of arts and culture. At the end of each September, millions of people attend thousands of free participatory arts and culture events across the country both in-person and online. Culture Days programs invite the public to get hands-on and behind-the-scenes to highlight the importance of arts and culture in our communities. The next Culture Days celebration will take place Sept. 22 through Oct. 15 for three glorious weeks of colour, creativity and community.

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12th Annual Mushtari Begum Festival

Sept. 23, 7 p.m.

The 12th Annual Mushtari Begum Festival of Indian Classical Music and Dance returns to Massey Theatre as one of the premiere festivals celebrating Indian Classical Music and Dance. The MBF features Kathak/Harmonium maestra Amika Kushwaha, dazzling the audience stupendous footwork patterns and blinding pirouettes, Ghazal/Tabla Wizard Cassius Khan who combines the Classical styles of Ghazal/Thumri singing and the Tabla. He is the sole disciple of the late Malika e Tarranum Mushtari Begum and Tabla maestro Ustad Rukhsar Ali of the Delhi Gharana of Tabla playing. This year’s Mushtari Begum Festival features Pt Salil Bhatt, the amazing Satvik Veena maestro from Jaipur, India, and Dr. Kamaljeet Gill, the classical Khayaal/Thumri/Ghazal artist from Edmonton.

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Family Fun Mid-Autumn Celebration

Sept. 24

Celebrate the Mid-Autumn moon with an afternoon of fun activities for the family. The Mid-Autumn Festival is often referred to as the “Mooncake Festival” because of the delectable treat that takes center stage. These sweet pastries, with their rich fillings and intricate designs, symbolize unity and family togetherness. To learn more of these traditions in a fun, playful way, bring your whole family to Gateway Theatre for a joyful experience listening to a live reading of the fourth episode of A Year of Blessings audio play series celebrating the Mid-Autumn Festival, followed by craft activities and mooncakes!