Présence autochtone, the 25th edition of the First Peoples Festival, is currently taking place at Place des Arts in Montréal, and is definitely worth checking out.
The festival features movies, concerts, readings, art, and more, celebrating aboriginal culture and its importance for Canadian identity. Moreover, the festival highlights the evolution and adaptation of aboriginal music and art in a changing world.
Drumming circles and other forms of aboriginal traditional music, as well as new forms of aboriginal musical expression, such as DJ Psychogrid, Madekimo, Moe Clark, and Katia Makdissi Warren are featured every day on the big stage.
Additionally, many important aboriginal organizations like the APTN, the Makivik Corporation, Land Insights, and the AVATAQ Cultural Institute are using the festival to bring attention to the challenges that still remain within the aboriginal community, like the societal integration of First Nations and Inuit People who adapt to life in urban centres.
In response to this issue and others, the First Peoples Festival promotes the use of art as a means of societal mobilization, identity building and cultural understanding.
Inuit cultural expression using modern and non-traditional materials, including tepees and sacred animals like deer, turtles and moose, can be seen all over Place des Arts. In addition, the festival features First Nations artists like Jeffrey Veregge of Port Gamble S’Klallam. Veregge’s art will be of particular interest to comic book fans, as it integrates traditional aboriginal artistic designs with popular culture icons like Iron Man and Buzz Lightyear.
Lastly, Parks Canada is giving out free airbrush tattoos of modern and traditional designs of aboriginal spiritual animals, each created by an aboriginal artist. With each tattoo comes a short explanation of the spiritual importance of each animal, and a description of the artist’s vision for the design.
The First Peoples Festival is not to be missed – check it out this week, until August 5, at Place des Arts!
words by Jiliane Golczyk