The month of May marks Asian Heritage Month in Canada, and as it comes to an end, I reflect on how different explorASIAN Festival celebration was this year with most of its signature events, tours, film screenings, and gatherings being cancelled or postponed. In past years, the Vancouver Asian Heritage Month Society, its partners and audience, shared stories, learned about the many different Pan-Asian Cultures, and cultivated relationships through its extensive live festival programming. These past months, the global health crisis showed us that we cannot take things for granted or predict when or how to gather, but that we can change the way we behave, communicate, and work.
explorASIAN Festival is an opportunity to provide Pan-Asian and Asian-Canadian artists a platform to be seen and heard. The question we had this year was, how to showcase the many Pan-Asian artists without our original plans? We decided to transition the festival from live to virtual as our best move to keep our promises and help our artists. Virtual explorASIAN held the key to our presence and active participation in celebrating Asian Heritage Month. Internet, social media, and live streaming brought forward more of new audiences as well as artists who could perform and connect. Our Opening Ceremony, Interconnected exhibitions project, film screenings, webinars, talks, interviews, and many partners’ events became more relevant and brought us closer together than any other years. Now, I can say that, regardless the circumstances, we found ways to connect with each other and celebrate.
As of today, we may not know when social distancing restrictions will be completely eased in our cities, but we, at VAHMS, will remain committed to continuing celebrating Asian Heritage Month, as well as cultivating, and promoting openness, diversity, inclusion, and community all year through.
Thanks to the hard work and generosity of our Partners, Sponsors, Advisors, Festival Coordinator, Board Members, Volunteers, and your continuous support, we made Virtual 2020 explorASIAN Festival a reality. Next Year, we will come back together as a stronger diverse community to celebrate VAHMS 25
Anniversary, and another successful Asian Heritage Month.
On Behalf of the Vancouver Asian Heritage Month Society, I would like to thank you, now more than ever, for helping us give voice and support to the diverse Pan-Asian Communities.