Need to Know, Need to Go: Events to wrap up Black History Month

Artsy, local events to check out around the Lower Mainland

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Illustration of a blue calendar, with
Arts & Culture events to catch around the city. Image courtesy of Brianna Quan

By: Sara Wong, Arts & Culture Editor

Homegoing: Blackness and Belonging Across the Canada/US Border | February 17, 6:30–8:00 p.m. | FREE | Online and in-person

As part of the SFU history department’s Highlighting Black Histories series, Homegoing touches on the nuances of Black Canadian experiences. Lecturer Debra Thompson will discuss “the boundaries of racial belonging” inferred from the question “but where are you really from?” Thompson, a Canada Research Chair studying racism in democratic societies, will use her research on race politics — alongside personal experience — to explore the Black diaspora. Registration for this hybrid event is available via Eventbrite.

SOCA events | February 18 and 28 | FREE | Online

Join the Students of Caribbean and African Ancestry (SOCA) as they wrap up their 2022 Black History Month event schedule with a trivia night and Movie Monday. On Feb. 18, SOCA is partnering with the African Students’ Association and Somali Students Association to present Family Feud, Jeopardy, and Kahoot-style trivia. And on the 28, SOCA is showing the 2015 documentary The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, which highlights the political and cultural significance of the American Black Panther Party. This event will take place on Zoom. Register through Eventbrite.

Chop It Up | February 19, 6:00 p.m. | $27.54 | Online

This community organization was created by two local business owners: Asha Wheeldon of Kula Kitchen and Chris Boreland of Elbo Patties. The goal of Chop It Up is “to bring folks together through a common love for food and culture.” Their upcoming cooking class will focus on 100% plant-based recipes and feature guest speakers Firina Achor, Lilian Umurungi-Jung, and Roger Collins on re-imagining Black businesses. Register for Chop It Up’s next event on Eventbrite. A sliding scale payment option is available by entering the code “BFM” at checkout.

VIFF Black History Month program | Dates and times vary | $10 | Online and in-person

From poignant dramas to pop culture documentaries, VIFF’s selection for Black History Month aims to provide audiences with more opportunities to engage with Black storytelling and filmmaking. Standouts in this year’s lineup include The Learning Tree — a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age film about Gordon Parks, the first Black director on a Hollywood film — and Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché, which follows the punk rock icon’s daughter as she traces Styrene’s career around the world. Visit VIFF’s website to see showtimes and book tickets for any BHM program.

Via Kanana | Now until March 6 | $15–45 | Online

In this South African dance showcase, choreographer Gregory Maqoma and Via Katlehong Dance use a variety of moves to challenge “those in power and the unfulfilled promises made in the transition to democracy.” Incorporating the styles of pantsula (a flat-footed dance created during Apartheid) and gumboot, a rhythmic dance focused on stomping and handstrokes, Via Kanana promotes Black visibility and creativity. For more information about the show and to purchase the livestream, visit DanceHouse’s website.

VAG events | Dates and prices vary | In-person

The work of veteran Vancouver-based artist Jan Wade is currently on display at the Vancouver Art Gallery (VAG) in an exhibit titled Soul Power. Drawing inspiration from her mixed cultural identity and lived experiences as an African Canadian individual, Wade’s multi-media pieces embody “political, social, spiritual, and material transformations.” Soul Power is available until March 13. Outside the VAG is a separate exhibit called Dynamic Diasporas, which also highlights local Black trailblazers. As part of the Vancouver Mural Festival’s Winter Arts lineup, running now until February 27, Dynamic Diasporas uses archival materials to amplify the accomplishments of people like Rosemary Brown and Barbara Howard.