Cultural Calendar

Welcome to 2024! From dazzling light shows to jubilant performances, our city celebrates the dawn of fresh beginnings. As the new year begins, optimism fills the air, making it a moment to embrace hope, set new goals and revel in the joyous spirit of possibilities that this upcoming year brings. Cheers to the adventures and change that await in the coming year!

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ResiStories: Re-Imagining Refugee Memoir

Jan. 11, 6:30–8:30 p.m.

Baljit Singh, Coming Home, 2022, 35mm negative. In collaboration with NorBlack NorWhite. Visit the un/tangling, un/covering, un/doing exhibit at the Surrey Art Gallery. | Photo courtesy of Surrey Art Gallery.

ResiStories is a collaboration between the Museum of Vancouver and the UBC Vancouver Public Humanities Hub. This series of programming aims to bring scholars of intersectional equity-seeking work and identities together in mutual learning and solidarity with communities in the public space of the city’s oldest (and initially Eurocentric) cultural institution to resist colonial narratives. On Jan. 11, join the museum for a compelling reading of excerpts from the memoirs, Landbridge by Y-Dang Troeung and Carmen Aguirre’s Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter. Both Y-Dang and Carmen’s works resist traditional forms of the refugee memoir and examine the problematic image of the “grateful” refugee’s arrival in Canada.

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Unbearable Labour of Being

Jan. 11–Feb. 17

The name of the proposed art show “The Unbearable Labour of Being” borrows its concept and title from the poetry of Ahmad Shamlo, an Iranian poet who devoted most of his poetry to understanding the meaning of being human in the social and political context of their surroundings. In this exhibition, three artists from different cultural backgrounds come together and inquire about the conscientious labour of production. This exhibition aims to connect with others, through igniting common feelings at the threshold of language (happiness, desire, loss, despair, and so on), as well as inviting the audience to reflect on their own life and stories. For artist bios and more information, check out the North Van Arts website.

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Aporia (Notes to a Medium)

Jan. 12–April 14

Aporia (Notes to a Medium) considers how history, mythology and wishful thinking entwine across media and through mediums. In this moment where faith in media, government and institutions is further collapsing, where binarization is on the rise, where expressions of doubt are tactical, this exhibition includes artists’ works that contend with systems of belief and perception to trouble truth’s material (and immaterial) forms. The works in the exhibition examine power structures to variously query art histories, the patriarchy, capitalism and the acquisition of knowledge. For more information, check out the Belkin website.

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River Basin Days

Jan. 13

Artwork on display at the Unbearable Labour of Being exhibition. | Photo courtesy of North Van Arts.

River Basin Days is a monthly series of outdoor public programs geared towards families. Join the Fraser River Discovery at different locations around the Fraser River Basin as they explore this incredible watershed! Their staff will guide participants through one hour of activities, experiments and art projects to learn about the biodiversity of this great river. For more information and to pre-register, check out the Fraser River Discovery’s website.

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Dead Poets Reading Series

Jan. 14, 3 p.m.

Join the Massy Arts Society on Sunday, Jan. 14 at 3 p.m. for the next Dead Poets Reading Series, as deep threads of connection and solidarity are drawn between local, contemporary poets and a diverse array of poets from the past. The society welcomes you to an afternoon reflection and celebration, as poetic conversation and recitation travel through time. Please check out the society’s website for reader and poet information, and to pre-register.

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Jan. 17–20

Solo dance-theatre by dance artist Tara Cheyenne Friedenberg. | Photo courtesy of Firehall Arts Centre.

Can one reimagine gender from inside a middle-aged body while standing at the playground caught in the no “man’s” land between the “moms” and the “dads”? Pants, being performed at the Firehall Arts Centre, takes a deep dive into the shallow end of the gender binary through raw comedy and dance that crawls inside our “packaging”. What happens to one’s flimsy identity, built on blending, when one’s offspring sheds the binary before recess? Profoundly personal storytelling is delivered through alarming comedy and movement that reveals the heart of the matter. Please visit the arts centre’s website for tickets and more information.

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Gertrude and Alice

Jan. 18–Feb. 12

Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas visit the Jericho Arts Centre to tell of their 40-year relationship, of friendships with iconic artists, of Alice’s overwhelming devotion to Gertrude’s genius and how, as two Jewish lesbians, they survived in Paris in the Second World War. Now they want to find out how their lives are – or are not – remembered. For tickets and more information, please visit the Jericho Arts Centre’s website.

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Vive les Voyageurs festival

Jan. 20–21, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.

Tap your feet to the beat of French-Canadian music at Fort Langley National Historic Site’s annual Vive les Voyageurs Festival. Enliven your senses with the traditional foods, music and culture of the 19th-century French-Canadian and Métis fur traders. Regular admission fees apply: $9.00/adult; $7.50/senior. Free for annual pass holders and youth age 17 and younger. For more information, please visit the Parks Canada website.

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un/tangling, un/covering, un/doing

Jan. 20–March 17

From the moment of birth, hair takes on multi-faceted meanings. Rooted within storytelling by families and communities, the politics of hair have been both intimately personal and profoundly social. Hair carries diverse cultural narratives that are usually shared through identity and gender. For example, the beauty one sees in loosely coiled curls or a tight braid are both evocative and subjective, not only in the presentation but how hair is communicated to the world. In this exhibition, artists employ compelling storytelling that express connections intertwined with familial teachings and their own informed experiences.

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Shen Xin: but this is the language we met in

Jan. 20–March 31

Richmond Art Gallery is proud to present Chinese artist Shen Xin’s haunting debut exhibition in Canada. At its heart is a poetic new work called “but this is the language we met in,” the first film in a forthcoming series. With this project accompanied by four small paintings, the artist deepens their ongoing engagement with what they describe as “ways of coming to knowing, and the ecosystems of languages.” This experimental video’s wide-ranging imagery and multifaceted soundscape is permeated with the artist’s apparent yearning to unearth language in its most primal forms. Shen uses the tree in particular as an embodied example of these “ecosystems of language.” Sensory images of trees in their natural and processed states are interspersed throughout the video: the rough texture of rough mottled bark, crisscrossing branches, flames leaping from a pile of logs, a shaft of light sliding across a wall’s smooth wood-panelled surface, a shingled rooftop. Check out the art gallery’s website for more information.