Where Worlds Meet
2017 FESTIVAL THEME
Tales of War & Peace
This year’s festival theme was ‘Tales of War and Peace’. We see artists as important voices in the larger community, allowing us to step into the worlds they create, while also addressing the pressing questions of the one we inhabit. The 2017 line-up included an outstanding array of award-winning artists who have the courage to say what they think, to hold up a mirror to ugly truths, but also to transcend, offer hope and celebrate creation when the world looks dispiriting.
It all started with a powerful evening that launched Booker Prize-winning author Arundhati Roy’s new novel ‘The Ministry of Utmost Happiness’, with special guest Naomi Klein introducing Roy. Then there was the creativity and generosity of our culinary artists at our sold out Opening Gala curated by Vikram Vij, and featuring special guests Tayybeh, who stole everyone’s hearts (via their stomachs). Our much sought after walking tours of Punjabi Market and Chinatown also brought cultures and cuisines together, and the panel discussion that followed linked local civic issues with global patterns of city-shaping.
Our writers and thinkers (Anosh Irani, Pasha Malla, MG Vassanji, Joe Sacco, Molly Crabapple, Kamila Shamsie, Bif Naked, Carmen Rodriguez and Raghu Karnad) pushed us to explore some uncomfortable places, talking about masculinity, art born of war, the unbelonging of migration, and the colonial project that made Shakespeare a Desi. The world of oral literature and language was honoured by linguists Anvita Abbi, Marianne Ignace and Khelsilem who connected the Indigenous languages of India and Canada. And then literary bluesman Arthur Flowers showed us exactly how oral cultures live on, in a magnificent performance that was as close to a hypnotic, spiritual experience as they come.
Our rich visual arts offering included provocative work by noted artist Jin-me Yoon and students SFU’s School for the Contemporary Arts, critically examining Canada at 150+. The streets of Punjabi Market still flutter with banners featuring a visual conversation between powerhouses Susan Point and Orijit Sen. Acclaimed Indigenous artists Bhajju and Deepa Shyam from central India used their stunning visual language to start a conversation on Coast Salish lands that will continue for years to come.
Grammy award-winning geniuses L. Subramaniam and Ernie Watts and their friends showed us just how electrifying it can be to witness artists at the top of their game go out on a limb to create work that is new and spontaneous. We can still hear the echo of the standing ovation the audience gave them and the sublime encore they came up with. Our other musical events this year showcased artists as diverse as sitarist Mohamed Assani performing a rare and sublime morning Raga (at the beautiful Ismaili Centre, accompanied by blueberries and parathas) to the crackling Indigenous hip-hop duo Mob Bounce at the Vogue Theatre. ISF stalwart Rup Sidhu appeared in two gorgeous collaborations at the festival – a bass-driven exchange with Adham Shaikh and a smoky, mellow conversation with Tiffany Moses. And finally, the legendary Talvin Singh OBE, pioneer of the Asian Underground, closed ISF’s 2017 season with the lush, subtle, yet all-enveloping sound that made his celebrated ‘Anokha Nights’ a magnet for London’s tastemakers and a global inspiration.
ARUNDHATI ROY | JUNE 26
The Ministry of Utmost Happiness
OPENING GALA | JULY 6
With Vikram Vij & Guest Chefs
LANDMARKS: ART INSTALLATION | JULY 7
With Jin-me Yoon
PARCELS & FUGUE STATES | JULY 7
With Pasha Malla & Anosh Irani
A TALE OF TWO MARKETS | JULY 8
Punjabi Market & Chinatown
HERE IS WHERE WE MEET | JULY 8
With L. Subramaniam & Ernie Watts
IN-BETWEEN WORLDS | JULY 12
With MG Vassanji
DYING WORDS | JULY 13
With Dr. Anvita Abbi
A MUSE OF FIRE | JULY 13
With Joe Sacco, Raghu Karnad & Kamila Shamsie
I SEE THE PROMISED LAND | JULY 14
With Arthur Flowers
GRAPHICALLY SPEAKING | JULY 14
With Joe Sacco & Molly Crabapple
MORING RAGA | JULY 15
With Mohamed Assani & Amarjeet Singh
5×15| JULY 15
With Talvin Singh, Bif Naked, Molly Crabapple, Kamila Shamsie & Carmen Rodriguez
CONSTELLATIONS | JULY 15
With Talvin Singh, Mob Bounce, Rup Sidhu & Tiffany Moses
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