A multidisciplinary festival dedicated to celebrating and serving Edmonton’s Black artists, Black Arts Matter is a reminder of what growth is possible when we choose truth, community, and art.

Black Arts Matter (BAM!): Opening


Thursday, February 8 at 5:30PM
in the ATB Financial Arts Barns Lobby
Featuring: Karimah, Nasra Adem,
Betty Abebayehu, Yusi Hunter, Riwo
Egor, Adanna Onuekwusi, Jorge
Aristoteles, Leshan Masikonte
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The Black Arts Matter organizing team kicks off the series with a multidisciplinary collaboration. Then, MelAfrique fires us up with Afro-fusion music!


Infinite Mercies Album Release

Saturday, February 10 at 8:30PM
in the Backstage Theatre
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Infinite Mercies is a series of 21 poems, which, together, constitute a loosely-narrative exploration of Divine mercy, lineage, love, anger and healing in the life of Edmontonbased poet Brandon Wint. Infinite Mercies combines the honesty and lyrical potency of spoken word poetry with the expansive potential of classical music and dance in order to create an experience that is, at once, theatrical, musical, and emotionally intimate.

 


Black Girl Magic: Sunkiss X The Gathering

Sunday, February 11 at 7:00PM
in the Backstage Theatre
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Featuring Karimah, Mpoe Mogale, Nasra Adem, Effy Adar, Dwennimen, Medgine Mathurin,
Althea Cunningham

SunKiss a short play by Althea Cunningham
After four years of being together, Sunkiss approaches her partner about starting a family. When Elena avoids a discussion about raising a mixed race family, do they deepen their commitment by moving forward? Maybe it’s a deal breaker.

The Gathering by Black Girl Magic Collective
Through dance, poetry, music, and theatre we commemorate the healing that arises when Black women/femmes gather. This performance will be an excerpt from the larger show which is a collaboration with a group of multidisciplinary Indigenous femme artists which can be seen March 9th at the SkirtsaFire Festival.


OOZEELA / IOLA / SELASSIE

Friday, February 16 at 10:30PM
in the Backstage Theatre
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Featuring Oozeela, Selassie, Ashleigh Ezekpo , Ivan Touko, Omonosifon Udo, Lebene Mawutor
Energy. Consciousness. Culture. Join us for a hip hop show infused with Afrobeats and poetic rhyme; a collaborative showcase by some of Edmonton’s most vibrant dancers and emcees!

 


Awaken: A BAM Workshop Series

Monday, February 12
in the Westbury Lobby

This enlightened workshop series invites you to engage in healing conversation about Black life. Each workshop is pay-what-you-will. Tickets available on a first come, first serve basis.

Mindfulness & Meditation with Waymatea Ellis
1:00PM – 2:00PM
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Healer and Juno nominated artist Waymatea hosts a session on mindfulness and meditation for the Black artist.

Queerness//Blackness//Gender//Abolition with Rebecca Jade
2:00PM – 3:00PM
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This past summer, in an article in Afropunk titled “My Gender is Black,” Hari Ziyad wrote that gender identity under whiteness is a tool, not an end. In this workshop, we will explore what it means to say that gender can be a tool. We will discuss the conflation of gender and sex, and how the false belief that there are only two genders and two sexes–in addition to the harmful practice of assigning these to infants upon their birth–is a white supremacist practice with anti-Black roots that run deep on this land. With this knowledge, we will think through what a responsible Black queer relationship between gender, sex, and abolition might look like.

Overcoming Restrictions with Grit
3:00PM – 4:00PM
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Participants will walk away equipped to either start their creative projects or continue current ones with creative philosophies that support their resilience in the work. We will use mock scenarios to help each other feel more comfortable with adapting to changing demands on the showcase of our creative work. By the end of the workshop people will understand that the obstacles are the path and that the manner we think about obstacles and restrictions as opportunities is key to cultivating grit in the creative process.

The Lives of Techs
4:00PM- 5:00PM
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A conversation on the barriers, opportunities and possibilities for change that exist in the technical theatre world.

Beyond the Darkness: The Golden Handshake. A play reading by Mukonzi Musyoki
5:00PM – 6:00PM
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Change is coming to Throes Republic. Within a chaotic attempt to legalise as well as resist the legalisation of same-sex marriage in this African state, a homecoming ceremony of John, a doctoral graduate in Political Science from Canada turns catastrophic. The centre is nolonger holding things in place after an inevitable realisation that some forces are beyond our measures. Within a family drama based on an overly controlling mother, an ambitious peripheral father and a confounded stranded sister, John’s world finds itself in smithereens that cannot be put together.


Circle Up! A Closing Night Celebration

Sunday, February 18 at 8:00PM
in the Westbury Theatre
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An activation of truth and reconciliation; come dance, sweat and pay homage to the Circle and the unifying magic that African and Indigenous people have been cultivating for centuries; the drum circle.