Artivism: Sex + The Unheard is one of dozens of events taking place throughout Metro Vancouver as part of this year's BC Culture Days.
Artivism: Sex + The Unheard is one of dozens of events taking place throughout Metro Vancouver as part of this year's BC Culture Days.

Part of a national movement celebrating arts and culture, the annual BC Culture Days returns with an expanded month-long series of events taking place throughout Metro Vancouver and beyond. Events this year will be hosted both in-person and online.

“Artistic expression and creative curiosity are fundamental components of the health and vitality of our communities, especially as we continue to navigate the uncertainty of a global pandemic,” says BC Culture Days manager Nazanin Shoja. “We hope that by expanding this year’s celebration to a full month and opening access to events taking place locally, provincially, and nationally, BC Culture Days can foster connection, understanding, and healing for an even greater number of British Columbians this fall.”

With the help of five emerging artists from across the province, these cultural ambassadors will explore the “unexpected intersections of creative connection and artistic discovery” through their respective art forms with assistance from professional mentors.

Among them is first-time Vancouver cultural ambassador Coral Santana.

The Afro-Latina writer and activist will produce Artivism: Sex + The Unheard. The livestream festival will highlight the connections between minority experiences and sex, sexuality and body ownership through live music, comedy, spoken word, aphrodisiac cuisine, and burlesque.

“One of the reasons I wanted to present the festival is because the topic in the mainstream is considered risque,” says Santana. “Themes we are exploring are conversations we should be more comfortable having. It is not just focused on the act of sex but also sexuality, gender and ownership of body. Especially in the social revolution that is happening right now, it is incredibly important to have these conversations outside of niche communities and to understand the extent of the human experience fully.”

"These topics don't have to be taboo. We are all sexual beings and is such an essential portion of the human experience. Art is a great way to explore these themes." - Coral Santana
“These topics don’t have to be taboo. We are all sexual beings, and it is such an essential portion of the human experience. Art is a great way to explore these themes.” – Coral Santana

The month-long festival kicks off with an opening weekend that will include various performing arts, the launch of a podcast and the first of three episodes of an aphrodisiac cooking show. The larger festival will also include panel discussions and workshops.

“A little bit of everything to dabble into the theme of sex, sexuality, gender and ownership of body through the lenses of different minorities,” says Santana.

By taking in the festival, Santana hopes that audiences will gain a better understanding of the diversity of experiences around these topics.

“These topics don’t have to be taboo,” she says. “We are all sexual beings and is such an essential portion of the human experience. Art is a great way to explore these themes. I hope everyone finds their own community and comfort within the themes and is open to exploring and don’t let the status quo limit how you learn.”

The 11th annual BC Culture Days kicks off on September 24 with a virtual launch hosted by the City of North Vancouver and spoken word poet Andrew Warner with music, dance and other performances. It continues through October 25.

Visit culturedays.ca for more information.