The Art of Progress

June 18, 2015
Doors: 6:30, Show Time: 7:00
Djavad Mowafaghian Theatre, SFU Woodward’s Location: 149 West Hastings

Young artists are often very powerful catalysts for social change. By presenting a bold and viscerally different perspective on the world we know, their work can provide clarity on the world we want.

On Morocco’s old pirate coast, in the city of Salé, a new generation of pirates are setting sail in Morocco’s first professional circus. For the hundreds of teenagers that audition each year, Cirque Shems’y represents an escape from the difficult life in the poorest slums in Morocco.

Pirates of Salé introduces us to four young performers on a tough journey of transformation, as they train for their first show and learn to live independently, express themselves, challenge convention and embrace the completely alien concept of artistic freedom. Set against the incredible Moroccan coast, this documentary follows Hajar, a talented aerialist who lived on the streets until she joined the circus; Imed a dazzling performer who sees circus as a way to challenge corruption in Morocco; Rizlan fighting for a life of creative freedom rather than an arranged marriage; and Abd’Ali who has to succeed to support his nine brothers and sisters back at home.

Director Rosa Roger hopes to inspire young people across cultures and social circumstances to dare to dream and to express themselves in relation to the world around them.

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ArtQuake is a youth driven organization based in Vancouver, B.C. that envisions a transformed world where every youth is a vehicle for change, fuelled by their own creative expression. They empower youth to use their artistic skills to create social change in their communities.

Their 2015 focus on the Democracy Arts Project will create a variety of creative spaces, both physical and virtual, for young people to take back the mic on what democracy means for them and how youth envision the future of the democracy we live in. Follow them @artquake411.

The Art of Progress
A Critical Discussion on Art and Social Change.

ArtQuake takes an intersectional, anti-oppression and decolonization lens to all its work. For the evening’s discussion the ArtQuake team will moderate a conversation that considers the Pirates of Salé in relation to our local arts and activist community. With Morocco as the setting, we – a Canadian audience – are trying to understand the socio-political conditions in a culture and society that most of us are not personally connected to. Thus, the panel will unpack the idea of “progress” and what that looks like, and challenge us to suspend our assumptions and generalizations. ArtQuake wants to engage the audience in thinking critically about the idea that art leads to progress – what kind of progress? Who benefits? On who’s terms?

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Reel Causes partners with filmmakers and Canadian causes dedicated to addressing global social justice issues. We host film screenings followed by a Q&A session to educate and inspire our community, and provide a forum for authentic conversation around the issues that affect us locally.

City of Vancouver
SFU Woodwards
BC Arts Council
Consumer Protection BC