CAN Festival 2021 February and March events
14 February 2021
Reporter: Vera Liber
CAN Festival 2021, Chinese Arts Now’s annual festival of work by British East and South East Asian artists, will feature ten weeks of new exhibitions, screenings, sound installations, performance and comedy from venues across London including Two Temple Place, Soho Theatre, Rich Mix and Little Angel Theatre, opening on 15 February.
In 2020 Chinese Arts Now commissioned six digital works in response to the pandemic. The first five are by artists Pamela Carter, Jasmin Kent Rodgman, Eelyn Lee, Seph Li and Naomi Sumner Chan. The sixth commission by Tobi Poster-Su, Chang and Eng and Me (and Me), is a film which explores ideas of identity, privilege and the contemporary freak though the extraordinary story of Chang and Eng Bunker, the original ‘Siamese’ twins.
Gaming technology meets the arts in a 3D experience created by Christine Urquhart. Originally meant to be live, visitors can walk through a virtual Two Temple Place and see works by artists Chloe Wing, Donald Shek, Jack Tan and Jasmin Kent-Rodgman accompanied by original music and spoken text.
Stay Connected is a new festival strand gathering artists from the 2019 and 2020 Festivals (who are not in the 2021 edition) and offering them a platform to share their work with Festival audiences. 30 artists have been offered small commissions to either create new work, share existing work or even work in development.
An-Ting Chang, director of Chinese Arts Now and the CAN Festival, said, “people have suggested that I cancel this year’s CAN Festival, but for me it is more important than ever to keep the Festival running. The pandemic has highlighted the division between rich and poor, between different nations and cultures. East Asians particularly are in a very controversial position where the world seems to monitor but not understand them.
"CAN wants to tell a broad range of diverse contemporary Chinese stories and this year’s Festival presents work from more than 60 leading British East and South East Asian artists. It is essential that we remember why we are here, that we carry on making art, and stay connected with the public and our community of artists.”