Contemporary Indigenous arts festival launches in Victoria
'We have incredible indigenous artists in this province,' says arts manager
Indigifest, a festival that celebrates contemporary Indigenous artists, launches Friday in Victoria.
The festival is a free, one-day event at the Esquimalt Gorge Park, which will include musical performers, workshops and interactive activities.
Sarah Pocklington, a musician and arts manager of First Peoples Cultural Council, started the initiative to give rising artists a platform to connect with other Indigenous artists in B.C.
"We have incredible indigenous artists in this province ... It's about lifting up artists," Pocklington said.
The council is a provincial Crown corporation formed to revitalize First Nations languages, arts and culture.
Internationally renowned artists like the Snotty Nose Rez kids and Niska Napoleon will be taking part.
Pocklington is of Cree, Scottish and English heritage and the executive producer of this year's festival.
She said the idea for the festival grew from a music retreat for Indigenous musicians in 2018, also organized by the First Peoples' Cultural Council.
"The retreat was quite exceptional ... we had a lot of mentors," she said. There, she gained knowledge about the arts industry and wanted to contribute more.
"Emerging artists are expressing their values and cultures ... in new and exciting ways," she said.
Pocklington said, Indigifest is more than just a platform for rising artists ... it's a place for those in the arts community to connect and come together.
Many people who took part in the cultural council's programs are working as technical stage producers, workshop facilitators and managers.
'They need opportunity'
"It's an opportunity to celebrate the diversity of the Indigenous cultures," Pocklington said.
What emerging Indigenous artists need right now is a shot to pursue their career goals, she said.
"They need opportunity, that's the biggest thing."
with files from On the Island