Vancouver Mural Fest launches Black Strathcona Resurgence Project for 2021 festival

Jul 20 2021, 4:48 pm

Vancouver Mural Fest (VMF) has announced its latest community endeavour that was created to reclaim visibility and reconcile the erasure and systemic racism that Black people have historically endured in Vancouver.

The Black Strathcona Resurgence Project is a multi-year project led by Curator Krystal Paraboo and Associate Curator Chipo Chipaziwa that spotlights Black storytelling through public murals. VMF is partnering with local Black artists, businesses, and communities to create the artworks.

BSRP is a mission to reclaim Black visibility in Vancouver. What this means is acknowledging a systemically racist Black history in Vancouver, and seeking to reverse the socio-economic effects of this past,” said Paraboo in an interview with Daily Hive. “Black people who belong to various communities exist in Vancouver, and this project is all about bringing them back together and creating a new hub for Black people to live and thrive.

(BSRP) is the garden that is growing from the seeds I planted last year as Guest Curator for Vancouver Mural Festival 2020. Part of my curatorial vision when coming on board was providing more opportunities for Black artists.

Black Strathcona Resurgence Project Curator Krystal Paraboo (Gabriel Martins)

Black Strathcona Resurgence Project Curator Krystal Paraboo (Gabriel Martins)

There will be 11 new BSRP murals created in the Hogan’s Alley neighbourhood during VMF 2021 from August 4 to 22.

BSRP artists for 2021 include Odera Igbokwe, MEDIAH, Joslyn Reid, Knowledge Bennett, Yaimel Lopez, John Sebastian, Jie Xie, Chase Gray, Paige Jung, Zachary George, Sasha Mbabazi, Enia Sitole, COMOHOMBRE, and Rachel Achus.

“Hogan’s Alley used to be home for many African-Canadians and numerous cultural landmarks such as Vie’s Chicken and Steak House and the African Methodist Episcopal Fountain Chapel,” said Chipaziwa. “Its vibrant history very much has an impact on both its present and future through how the spirits of those way before present day still live through today’s generations.

The murals and events being produced share the intention of unifying various diverse Black communities after said communities have been separated for some time now. I hope that the visitors of these events and murals can take away hope. Hope for a united future, hope for a flourishing future and hope for a better future for Vancouver’s Black communities.”

Black Strathcona Resurgence Project Associate Curator Chipo Chipaziwa (VMF)

Black Strathcona Resurgence Project Associate Curator Chipo Chipaziwa (VMF)

BSRP is presented with the support of the project partner Vancity, sponsors Shaw Communications, BC Hydro, BC Housing, Goodbye Graffiti, Strathcona BIA, and Community Partner Hogan’s Alley Society. Other VMF 2021 featured Community Projects include Blanketing The City IV: Cathedral Square and Punjabi Market: Murals In The Market.

Over 60 new murals will be painted and unveiled in 11 different neighbourhoods this summer. VMF will also host daily mural tours, in-person and online public talks, and over 40 live performances at an open-air, pop-up patio in the festival’s original home of Mount Pleasant.

While the majority of BSRP mural artists will be Black, the project has been curated with an intersectional lens to support intercultural relations.

“The community has historically shared space with Strathcona and Chinatown on the unceded territory of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil Waututh people. Building solidarity between marginalized Black and Indigenous communities is the future of our city and will ensure that reconciliation is supported beyond movements like Black Lives Matter and Land Back,” said VMF in a release. “Similarly, BSRP seeks to collaborate with and honour Chinatown’s Chinese community, with which Hogan’s Alley shares geographic space.”

VMF 2021 is also hosting a series of in-person and online programming that showcases Black culture.

BSRP Opening Ceremony: Celebrating Afro-Diasporic Identities

The opening ceremony of the Vancouver Mural Festival and the official launch of the Black Strathcona Resurgence Project. The celebration of Black diasporic identities features traditional African dance, Dancehall and Caribbean performers, contemporary movement, Black queer dancers, Black Drag Queens, and DJ-sets.

Date: August 4, 2021
5:30 to 8 pm (early session), 8:30 to 11 pm (late session)
Location: VMF Pop-Up Patio at Main and 5th in Mount Pleasant
Cost: $20, purchase online

Black Strathcona Mural Tour presented by Herschel Supply

DeTours will host tours of the art and share stories about Hogan’s Alley and the surrounding neighbourhood in collaboration with VMF’s Black Strathcona Resurgence Project (BSRP) team members. BSRP is a three-year VMF public art program in Hogan’s Alley.

Date: August 6 to 8, August 13 to 15, August 20 to 22, 2021
 10 to 11:30 am
Location: Hogan’s Alley
Cost: By donation

BSRP Bike Tour: Exploring Black Public Art Around the City

Explore murals created by Black artists across Vancouver on a special bike route designed by Colour The Trails & BLM Vancouver and hosted digitally by BIKEnnale. There will be multiple group riding slots throughout the day and an opportunity to learn about the history of the Strathcona neighbourhood while building community.

Date: August 22, 2021
Location: Various locations throughout the city
Cost: Free

Black Strathcona Resurgence Project Artist & Curator Talk

BSRP Project Manager and Lead Curator Krystal Paraboo will be in conversation with Guest Curator Chipo Chipaziwa and the project’s Year 1 artists. The discussion will centre on the processes behind creating each mural as well as the intersection of public art and Black identities.

Date: August 10, 2021
Time: 7 to 9 pm
Location: Online 
Cost: Free

Unlearning Anti-Blackness Workshop

Unlearning Anti-Blackness is a workshop hosted by Bakau Consulting. Attendees will take a deep dive into unpacking the manifestations of anti-Black racism in society while exploring themes such as cultural appropriation, solidarity, activism, intersectionality, Black and queer identity, microaggressions, intergenerational trauma and transformative justice. Unlearning Anti-Blackness is recommended for groups who have intermediate to advanced social justice knowledge and competency, as well as a core foundation of anti-racist vocabulary.

Date: August 12, 2021
Time: 4 to 6 pm
Location: Online 
Cost: Free

Building Towards Afro-Futurism: Public Talk

Building Towards Afro-Futurism, a theme for BSRP this year, will explore the developing intersection of African diaspora culture with technology, art and science. Hear from a panel of artists, authors, designers, entrepreneurs and tech specialists who will share how their work contributes towards building Afro-Futurism.

Date: August 17, 2021
Time: 7 to 9 pm
Location: Online 
Cost: Free

BSRP Closing Show

The BSRP Closing Show spotlights the storytelling and solidarity building between Black, Indigenous and Chinese communities found in Hogan’s Alley and Strathcona. The live entertainment includes spoken word, singing, rapping, readings, martial arts, drumming circles and more

Date: August 21, 2021
8 to 11 pm
Location: VMF Pop-Up Patio at Main and 5th in Mount Pleasant
Cost: $20, purchase online

DOWNLOAD THE VMF MOBILE APP to find and learn about over 300 murals—including 60+ new murals—across the city. Visit and follow @vanmuralfest for details, event calendar, and updates for Vancouver Mural Festival 2021 (August 4 to 22).

Daily Hive is a proud media partner of the 2021 Vancouver Mural Festival

Daniel ChaiDaniel Chai

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