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Monsoon season is back: South Asian arts festival brings murals, marketplace, more

There'll also be a series of dance lessons and workshops.
Among the events that are part of the Monsoon Festival Karima Essa will be doing an all ages Bollywood dance lesson.

The Monsoon Festival of Performing Arts, Vancouver's annual celebration of South Asian culture, is coming back for 2021, with a mostly digital presence.

Running from August 1 to 31, the festival will offer Vancouverites the chance to participate in Bollywood dance lessons, check out some visual artists' offerings and meet the designers behind new murals in the Punjabi Market.

"This year we’re excited to again present our festival online with a range of remarkable artists presenting and performing in some amazing music, dance, informational and participatory events - as well as a special partnership with the Punjabi Market Regeneration Collective," says Gurpreet Sian, the producer fo the festival and executive director of the South Asian Arts Society, in a press release.

The festival will feature weekly dance lessons, each focusing on a different style (including Bollywood and Bhangra). There'll also be a series of workshop events, discussing music and writing led.

Throughout the month the Monsoon Marketplace will highlight the work of South Asian visual artists like Angela Aujla, Jag Nagra and Kiran Rei.

Three events will be one-offs.

On Aug. 10 new murals will be revealed in the Punjabi Market.

"In partnership with Vancouver Mural Festival, Murals in the Market is the Punjabi Market Regeneration Collective's initiative to help facilitate storytelling along with discussions on racism and discrimination through public art by collaborating with local BIPOC artists to deliver a series of murals in Punjabi Market," states the festival's website.

Then on Sunday, Aug. 15 the festival's music night launches online, starting at 5 p.m. Acts playing styles from around the world will be included, including Kunda Culture representing West Africa, Uzume Taiko representing Japan and Israel “Toto” Berriel representing Cuba (Afro-Cuban music, to be exact).

The last event will be an artist panel with the artists behind the new murals. On Aug. 22 the group of artist and curator Jas Lally will discuss barriers and successes in the artistic process.