Camera Obscura (hungry ghosts) is one of the performing arts presentations at this year's festival. Photo by SD Holman.
Camera Obscura (hungry ghosts) is one of the performing arts presentations at this year's festival. Photo by SD Holman.

Last month, the City of Vancouver officially proclaimed 2018 to be the Year of the Queer, as fifteen LGBTQ communities celebrate significant anniversaries this year.

Among those celebrating is the Queer Arts Festival (QAF), which marks its tenth anniversary with DECADEnce, opening at the Roundhouse Community Centre in Yaletown this week. 2018 also marks the 20th anniversary of Pride in Art, the artist collective responsible for organizing the festival.

“For 20 years, we have championed the voices and visions of fearless artists to challenge normative misconceptions in both art spaces and the greater society,” says artistic director, SD Holman in a press release. “Still today, we are living with the burden of an uncertain future and a precarious present that denies freedom, the self-governance of our bodies, minds, and artistic visions. At ten years in, the importance of having a Queer Arts Festival has only grown more palpable.”

Among the performance highlights at this year’s festival is the world premiere of Lesley Ewen’s Camera Obscura (hungry ghosts). Presented with the frank theatre company, it is a re-imagining of Canadian multimedia artist Paul Wong’s early years, who becomes haunted by the project that launched his career.

Music and dance also play a big part at this year’s festival as Vancouver chamber ensemble, Erato Ensemble, performs a 30-year retrospective concert of Canadian composer Barry Truax’s works, and tenor Jeremy Dutcher performs traditional Wolastoqiyik songs from his debut album. As well, dancer Lee Su-Feh performs in a work about colonization titled Everything.

The festival is also big on the visual arts, with its annual curated and open art exhibitions.

DECADEnce: 2018 Queers Arts Festival opens at the Roundhouse Community Centre in Yaletown on June 16 and continues through June 28. Visit queerartsfestival.com for more information.