KULTURA Filipino Arts Festival

This August marks the 10th annual KULTURA Filipino Arts Festival, put on by Kapisanan Philippine Centre, celebrating the unique Toronto-Filipino diaspora. The five day festival takes place across the downtown core, celebrating the culture’s unique music, dance, poetry and food, culminating at Yonge-Dundas Square with a full day celebration, a first for the festival.

Beginning August 5th, the festival opens with a performance at the OCAD Auditorium by Filipino activist and performer, Carlos Celdran, performing his well known piece Livin’ La Vida Imelda, fresh from his sold-out run off-Broadway. Celdran reveals in his work how infamous former first lady, Imelda Marcos, influenced Philippine history and Filipino identity.

“We’re thrilled to have Carlos return to open the 10th annual KULTURA festival,” commented Nicole Cajucom, Executive Director of Kapisanan. “This irreverent, thought provoking, and wildly entertaining work casts the mythology of Imelda into an entirely new light, particularly for the younger generation who know little about her impact in our history.”

New this year to the festival is Balikbayan Renaissance: Ways of Weaving, featuring guest artist Cynthia Alberto, founder and director of Brooklyn, New York’s Weaving Hand. This full day artistic experience, taking place at Artscape Youngplace on Shaw Street, explores and celebrates both traditional and contemporary Philippine weaving and textiles in this hands-on workshop.

On the final day, the Street Eats Competition will run from noon until 7 p.m., with six food vendors competing for people’s choice to win a round trip to the Philippines. There will be a marketplace at Yonge-Dundas, hosting local Filipino artisans, as well the KULTURA live stage, showing contemporary and traditional Filipino dance and song.

“This is a big anniversary,” said Cajucom. “We want to make sure we are meeting the needs of our community, to show the diverse offerings we have as a people, and empower our community, especially our youth, to be share our culture.”

KULTURA runs from August 5th-9th. Capture and share your favourite moments from @kultura #kulturaTO

All photographs courtesy of Danelle Jane Tran, 2014.