Langham series set for spring and summer

The popular Café Langham – Inspired Ideas Speaker Series will host talks, performances and workshops that inform, engage and entertain.

Patrice Leung

The popular Café Langham Inspired Ideas Speaker Series, in conjunction with the second annual Langham Asian Series will host talks, performances and workshops this spring and summer in Kaslo that inform, engage and entertain.

The Asian Series is inspired by High Muck A Muck: Playing Chinese, an interactive exhibition on display in the Main Gallery from May 6 to July 3. It explores Chinese immigration and settlement in BC which first began in large numbers in the 1850s during the Fraser Canyon Gold Rush.

The exhibition was created by a team of Nelson and Vancouver artists including Nicola Harwood, and former Canadian parliamentary poet laureate Fred Wah, along with artists/performers, Bessie Wapp and Thomas Loh and composer Jin Zhang. Significant artistic contributions also came from Hiromoto Ida, Tomoyo Ihaya, Phillip Djwa, as well as many community members who contributed oral histories and stories, including Cameron Mah and Lawrence Mar.

If you missed the Oxygen Arts Centre’s showing in 2014, here is an opportunity to view and participate in this award-winning digital exhibition at the Langham Gallery. The UK Bournemouth University 2015 New Media Writing Prize describes the exhibition as an “innovative use of digital media” that is both easy and satisfying to use.

Using their varied skillset, the collective married together hand-painted graphics with interactive poems and presented it on a map interface. “Buildings disappear, stories disappear and racism goes underground shaping continued and subtle patterns of exclusion. It is the creators’ hope that High Muck a Muck: Playing Chinese, unearths some of these layers that make up our shared history of place.”

The first talk of the 2016 Café Langham Inspired Ideas speaker series, will take place on Thursday, June 2, highlighting Fred Wah, the fifth Canadian parliamentary poet laureate and an officer in the Order of Canada, with his talk, Learning How to Swear Poetry in Chinese. Wah grew up in Nelson and is one of the creators of the exhibition and will read and discuss poetry from High Muck a Muck: Playing Chinese and from his recent book Scree: The Collected Earlier Poems 1962-1991.

On Sunday, July 10, the series will present a three-hour hands-on workshop The Art of Chinese Tea (Gong Fu Cha) with Cloud Mountain Teahouse owner and tea master Christopher Harfman. Gong fu means the art of doing something well. In the tea ceremony known as gong fu, the implication is that time, dedication and effort will produce an ultimate tea experience.

Several talks and a workshop on The Art of Designing a Traditional Japanese Garden and The Tao of Chinese and Japanese Gardens along with a talk on the history of Chinese Canadians in the region will follow in July and August.

The series will conclude in August with two performances of the acclaimed Sansei: The Storyteller with the celebrated multi-disciplinary Calgary actor, dancer and writer, Mark Kunji Ikeda. Ikeda will also teach a workshop.

Then watch for the second summer and fall series, In Beauty We Walk, which will explore the theme of beauty in our world and what it means to live in harmony. A variety of Café Langham Inspired talks and workshops are planned.

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