The Prismatic Arts Festival is coming to Downtown Halifax
September 21st to 25th 2016
The Prismatic Arts Festival is bringing outstanding performances and events to
Halifax September 21-25. Performances scheduled every day at various
locations, including the Halifax Central Library, The Canadian Museum of
Immigration at Pier 21, the Bus Stop Theatre and The Company House.
This year, in recognition of the talented women in Canada and beyond, the
Prismatic Arts Festival will exclusively feature female artists and cultural workers.
The Festival line-up includes international rock sensation Eljuri, 2016 Juno
Nominee, Cris Derksen, and Halifax’s very own Reeny Smith. In addition to local
artists and performers from across Canada, Prismatic 2016 is welcoming artists
from New York, Los Angeles, Mexico City and Estonia!
Prismatic 2016 will start on Wednesday September 21 with the opening gala and
keynote address. The Prismatic Arts Festival is honoured to announce that
Simon Brault, O.C., O.Q., Director and CEO Canada Council for the Arts /
Directeur et chef de la direction, Conseil des arts du Canada will be giving the
keynote address to open Prismatic 2016.
In addition to performances, the Prismatic Arts Festival will once again host the
TALK, an interactive conference that is free and open to the public. It is an
opportunity for audience members, artists, academics and other stakeholders to
engage in dialogue about various topics surrounding this year’s conference
theme: Bridging the Gap.
The Prismatic Arts Festival has taken place in the Halifax area five times since
2008. Over the years, the Festival has featured the work of over 625 artists and
arts professionals in 210 performances and reached an audience of over 25,000
diverse and engaged audience members.
As always, Prismatic 2016 is family-friendly and events are open to the entire
community. Many performances are free, including all performances and
conference events hosted at the Central Library. Information about ticket sales
for ticketed performances is coming soon.
The ART – Prismatic 2016
Eljuri (New York): Born in Ecuador, raised in New York – Eljuri will rock the
Prismatic stage with her global rhythms and universal truths.
Maarja Nuut (Estonia): Bringing you the sounds and stories from Northern
Estonia, storyteller Maarja Nuut will take you into a sphere of strings, modern
electronics and soothing vocals.
From Los Angeles, Sahba Motallebi: Music of Persia – Traditional Meets
Contemporary. Sahba Motallebi (IRAN/US) is a modern virtuoso of the tar and
setar, an innovator in teaching Persian Music and recognized as the Best Tar
Player at the Iranian Music Festival four years running (1995-1998).
Shauntay Grant (Halifax): A lover of language and storytelling with roots in
Nova Scotia’s historic Black communities, Shauntay Grant brings an original and
thought-provoking performance art piece to Prismatic 2016.
Cris Derksen (Vancouver): Indigenous cellist and composer, 2016 Juno
Nominee, classically trained, new school electronics – she presents genre defying
music that can’t be missed.
From Montreal, Solawa: Led by Metis poet and vocalist, Moe Clark, Solawa is 5
artists, 4 languages, 1 band. Bridging different musical cultures and universes on
the Prismatic stage.
Diyet (Yukon): Born in a tent, raised in a two-room cabin, classically trained in
opera, and now an alternative folk artist. Her name is Diyet.
From Halifax, Allysa Flint: This local spoken word artist speaks passionately
and authentically about the issues facing youth in our community, including,
sexual violence, suicide, bullying, drugs and alcohol.
From Halifax, Reeny Smith: Musical powerhouse and rising star, Reeny Smith’s
smooth tone and impressive piano playing skills leaves her audiences touched
El Jones (Halifax): El Jones believes that poetry can empower the powerless
and give voice to the voiceless – she is a talented and insightful writer and
performer who wields words in pursuit of truth and justice.
Ursula Johnson (Eskesoni): Mi’kmaw performance/installation artist. Maker of
21st century O’pltek Baskets. #contemporaryart #contemporaryindian
From Toronto, Stephanie Yee: Visual artist and cultural worker Stephanie Yee
creates spaces where she and the audience can negotiate a work’s meaning
together – she presents Broken English Karaoke, a Prismatic crowd favourite!
Barbara Diabo (Montreal): Barbara brings you a contemporary dance that will
haunt you, charm you, and open a new dialogue about the role that Indigenous
people and communities have played in shaping modern Canada.
From Halifax, Najet Ghanai: Visual artist, Najet Ghanai’s innovative and
insightful installation work explores nature versus industry.
From Halifax, Sylvia Hamilton: Widely respected filmmaker, writer and
educator Sylvia Hamilton will be showcased at Prismatic 2016 with a poetry
reading and film screening.
Janet Munsil (Victoria): With 25 years of dedication to the stage, we are proud
to welcome Victoria’s Janet Munsil, esteemed playwright, director and producer
to Prismatic 2016.
Rebecca Thomas (Halifax): Halifax’s first indigenous Poet Laureate is coming
to Prismatic to sweep you into a world of new perspective.
The Glass House (Iran): An engaging documentary film that takes viewers into
the gritty streets of Tehran to explore the lives of young women on the margins of
society and their efforts to rebuild their lives with the assistance of the Omid
From Minneapolis, Meena Natarajan: An award winning artist and community
leader who has guided the artistic and administrative growth of Pangea World
Theater since 1995. Meena will be leading theatre workshops exclusively for
The TALK – Prismatic 2016
Prismatic 2016 is honoured to welcome Simon Brault, O.C., O.Q., Director and
CEO Canada Council for the Arts / Directeur et chef de la direction, Conseil des
arts du Canada. Mr. Brault will be giving the Prismatic 2016 keynote address at
the Opening Gala.
Session 1: Statues and Silence
How are Canadian communities addressing the tension betweencommemorating the settler history of Canada and recognizing the harms that
colonialism have visited upon Indigenous peoples? This discussion will provide
an opportunity to examine how different communities are addressing historical
realities and giving voice to people that have been silenced for decades.
Session 2: Conflict / Culture / Community
How is culture shaped and impacted by conflict and war? Which stories are
visible and which stories are not being heard? How has war has impacted the
diverse fabric of our Nova Scotia communities? Prismatic is partnering with
Mount St. Vincent’s University’s Network for Community-Engaged Research on
War to present current academic work that examines artistic expression during
times of war.
Session 3: Resilience and Rebirth
Take an intimate look into the lives of young Iranian women who are rebuilding
their lives with the support of the Omid foundation. Prismatic is proud to present
‘The Glass House’, a documentary film about the lives that are impacted by the
Omid Foundation. The film screening will be followed by a discussion, featuring
Omid Foundation representatives on the role that arts play in bridging cultural
and linguistic gaps to raise awareness of global and local issues.
Session 4: A Reconciliation 109 years in the Making
In 1907, due to the neglect and poor planning of engineers, tragedy struck on a
bridge under construction in Quebec City. The bridge collapsed, killing 75 men,
including 33 Mohawk men from Kahnawake. This event has had long-term, but
separate effects on both the Indigenous community and the engineering
Prismatic 2016 presents a dance performance, The Quebec Bridge, by Mohawk
choreographer and dancer Barbara Diabo. Following the performance, Ms. Diabo
and others will be participating in a panel discussion, including professional
engineers, to explore how a single historic event can have long-term impacts on
Session 5: Speaking Up and Speaking Out
How do we reach “mainstream” audiences / communities with the stories, voices,
opinions and concerns of minority communities? What are the experiences of
artists, journalists and academics who are working to establish dialogue and to
bridge the gap of understanding between communities? How can their work be
supported? What role do mainstream organizations play in establishing this
Join moderator, El Jones, a Halifax-based poet, educator and journalist, in a
discussion that explores the challenges of bridging the gap through one’s
Session 6: Arts at the Grassroots
Arts education as a tool of empowerment. Artistic expression to heal and grow.
Music and poetry to bring people together and find strength through community.
Prismatic welcomes Timar Dina, the founder of Music Liberatory, a Halifax-based
grassroots organization that aims to dramatically increase the number of female
instrumentalists by providing meaningful, fun, and free music programming for
women and girls.
THANKS to our Sponsors, Partners and Public Funders!
Prismatic receives support from the Canada Council for the Arts, Heritage
Canada, ACOA, Nova Scotia Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage,
Arts Nova Scotia and the Halifax Regional Municipality.
Prismatic would like to thank Gold Sponsor, TD Bank Group and our sponsors
and partners: Atlantica Hotel, Canadian Museum of immigration at Pier 21,
Cresco, United Gulf Developments Ltd., Halifax Public Library, Bodega Boutique,
Launchpad Tech Support, The Coast, and Onelight Theatre.