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We are determined to overcome the pandemic challenges: Vibrant Brampton architect Ricky Bajaj
Vibrant Brampton

We are determined to overcome the pandemic challenges: Vibrant Brampton architect Ricky Bajaj

| @indiablooms | 21 Jul 2020, 08:15 pm

This year’s annual event of Vibrant Brampton heritage festival from July 21 to Sep 3, to be presented by Arts & Culture Initiative of South Asia (ACISA), would present performances of more than 100 artists in a digital format, owing to the current COVID-19 pandemic. In an email interview to Asha Bajaj of Canadian-Media, ACISA co-founder and president  Ricky Bajaj talks about the mission, vision, challenges during the current COVID-19 pandemic. Excerpts:

 

This is the largest digital festival in Canada and you have an impressive 100 plus artists performing.  How did you decide to do this?

This is our 5th anniversary this year and we had big plans for this festival. The venue at Garden Square, the largest ever stage and other technical equipment were all good to go. Two major headliners from India and Pakistan were booked to come to perform at the festival. However, COVID 19 happened, so we had to look at alternative ways to bring this festival to the people.

We believe showcase of arts, culture & heritage through festivals and expositions will not lose its power even in the face of the virus.

Our plan to celebrate this milestone might have changed its course but our promise to entertain people across the Greater Toronto Area and Canada through a unique online experience came alive, when we thought of turning this festival into a digital hybrid format!

What challenges did you face in getting these 100 artists?  It is quite an achievement.  What were the criteria for selection?

Yes, it’s definitely a challenge to get over 100 artists to perform. Like all other areas of life, arts & cultural showcases have not been left untouched by this crisis. We wanted to support our local artists during these unprecedented times. Like every year, we wanted to give them a platform where they could perform with leading international artists who have a big fan following in Canada, so that these local artists could get more exposure. Like every year we initiated the artists' call, both from South Asian and non- South Asian backgrounds, through various channels.

What is the mandate of this organization? 

Arts & Culture Initiative of South Asia (ACISA) - the producer of VIBRANT BRAMPTON FESTIVAL -  is a non- profit organization with a vision to promote cross cultural understanding with the aim of bringing a diverse community together in celebration of life, culture, art and tradition.

Our mission is to promote the diversity of South Asian art forms by showcasing local artistes and providing them with an opportunity to present their work to a wide range of audience; to break cultural barriers and encourage participation, allowing all communities from Brampton and rest of Canada to experience the different forms of South Asian arts and culture; showcase South Asian heritage as it continues to evolve imbibing the cultural values of Canada; and  communicate key messages that share the philosophy of diversity with residents of Brampton and rest of Canada.

What kind of an audience can we expect in these trying COVID times?

More than ever, now is when arts and music and culture have the power to not only uplift spirits, but also to bring people together in these unprecedented times. Our  festival's endeavour is to do just that. Keeping this in mind, we launched a programme where we could get not just professional artists but also emerging artists and provide them with an opportunity to perform at our prestigious festival.   Our Board of Directors and the team embarked on opening up online auditions and so far we have got over 90,000 engagements on Facebook alone, where we have been running this program since June 22, 2020.

How important is it to promote art and culture?

I believe art and culture is very important. Cultural expressions are tangible in the form of art, literature, music, dance, theatre, film, storytelling etc. Such manifestations can also be of economic value. Projects from our non-profit arts organization Arts & Culture Initiative of South Asia (ACISA) - such as Vibrant Brampton, Visual Arts of South Asia-Arts Festival (V.A.S.A) and META Arts fest– Digital Arts Music & Media Festival are not only harbingers of social development, but also bring economic value to local business community.

Any message to the community?

I would encourage everyone to join in and encourage our artists in the Vibrant Brampton Festival through our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/vibrantbramptonfest


Images: Official FB pages

(Canadian Media/IBNS)


 

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