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Top 5 Events To Attend At Vancouver's Indian Summer Festival

07/03/2014 03:39 EDT | Updated 09/02/2014 05:59 EDT

From July 3 to 12, our favourite festival of arts, ideas, and diversity returns to Vancouver for the fourth year: the Indian Summer Festival.

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Mural by Orijit Sen

We like to pretend that we're intellectual, high-brow, cultured people who have read Rana Dasgupta's "Capital," saw Subodh Gupta's last installation at the National Gallery of Modern Art in Delhi, and know that Coleman Barks is the most popular translator of Rumi in North America.

The fact is, we don't know any of that stuff. But luckily, every July, the Indian Summer Festival gives us the chance to learn about all sorts of smart, intellectual, and creative things without having to leave Vancouver.

Herewith, Jugni Style's 5 top picks to get smarter with the Indian Summer Festival 2014:

1. From Punjab, with love.

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From Punjab with Love is a free public art installation at SFU Woodward's Atrium by renowned Indian graphic artist Orijit Sen. The mural was born out of a larger project that he was closely associated with: the Virasat-e-Khalsa Museum, a multi-media museum and cultural centre in the holy city of Anandpur Sahib in Punjab, India.

The mural is stunning in scope and staggering in detail, rendered in a hybrid form that melds the Mughal miniature style of painting with Orijit's own graphic novelist's eye. It depicts and celebrates the daily life, history, myths, and festivities of Punjab. Don't miss this gorgeous mural, free to the public, as well as a public talk with the artist.

From Punjab, with love: June 27 to July 13 daily at Woodward's Atrium at SFU Woodwards.

2. 5×15: 5 brilliant speakers, 15 unscripted minutes each. The result is magic.

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Similar in concept to Pecha Kucha but better, the 5×15 format comes to us from London and makes its North American debut in Vancouver. The diverse list of speakers who each talk for 15 minutes includes:

  • Zarqa Nawaz (creator of "Little Mosque on the Prairie"): Putting the FUN back in Fundamentalism
  • Ivan Coyote: What My Grandmother Left Us
  • Reza Aslan: The Politics of Religion
  • Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas: Why Indians Matter
  • Anita Majumdar: Cooking Stories with Only Half the Ingredients

5×15: July 10 at 9:00 p.m. at Fox Cabaret.

3. Laughing My Way to the Mosque with Zarqa Nawaz and Anita Majumdar.

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This special conversation brings two fascinating, funny women together to talk about the complexities of being brown women in Canada -- with a liberal dose of humour. In her new book, Zarqa Nawaz (creator of the hit TV series "Little Mosque on the Prairie") tells the sometimes challenging and always funny stories of her life, including agonizing about which sparkly earrings will "pimp out" her hijab and flirting with the Walmart meat manager to score the best Halal chicken just before Eid.

In conversation with Zarqa is Jugni Style's resident DIY beauty expert and award-winning actor, playwright, and dancer Anita Majumdar. In her most recent production, "Same Same But Different" (which she wrote and starred in), Majumdar tackles shadeism, identity, and race with her trademark brand of sensitive cultural critique and humour.

Laughing My Way to the Mosque: July 9 at 8:00 p.m. at SFU Woodwards.

4. Passages: An unplugged evening of Jazz, poetry and stories of the Komagata Maru.

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The Neelamjit Dhillon Quartet brings together four dynamic musicians playing the saxophone, flute, tabla, piano, bass, and drums. Together they tell the tale of the Komagata Maru through classical Indian and jazz forms. Joining them are renowned Canadian poets Phinder Dulai, Renee Saklikar, and Priscila Uppal talking about memory and remembrance. Accompanying them will be projections of historical photographs and art by renowned Indian graphic novelist Orijit Sen.

Come early to view the Museum of Vancouver's current exhibit, Unmoored: Vancouver's Voyage of the Komagata Maru, and stay after for wine, snacks, and conversation.

Passages: July 6 at 6:00 p.m. at Museum of Vancouver.

5. 100 Ways to Kiss the Ground: A Sufi Concert

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If Rumi is one of the best loved and most widely read poets in North America, then that is largely due to the efforts of American poet and interpreter Coleman Barks. In a rare Vancouver appearance, Barks leads the audience on a journey through the life and works of Rumi. His recitations will be accompanied, as Sufi poetry often was and is, with music by Iranian musician Hossein Behroozinia on barbat and Mohamed Assani on sitar.

100 Ways to Kiss the Ground: 8:00 p.m. at St. Andrew's-Wesley Church.

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