Tucked away in our famous Kensington Market is the 3500 sq ft headquarters for Kapisanan Philippine Centre for Arts & Culture. Kapisanan is a non-profit organization which is youth-led. It serves as a space for Filipino youth to embrace their culture and explore their own artistic talents in art, dance, food and more. They offer community based workshops in hopes of fostering a positive sense of pride and unity for teens and young adults while supporting their dreams and ambitions.
To expose the rest of Toronto to all that the Filipino community has to offer, KULTURA: The Filipino Arts Festival, was born. Co-founder and Executive Director of Kapisanan, Caroline Mangosing says, “There wasn’t a festival that actually celebrated Filipino artists’ work. Other Filipino festivals had beauty pageants and Hawaiian dancing, salsa dancing, and Celine Dion cover songs, no real original artistic work from our community that is wildly and vibrantly creative.”
KULTURA featured some really cool projects including one called, “Bayanihan” where the concept of “home” is explored and people can actually participate by helping to create a life-size, traditional Filipino hut. After that visitors could check out some street eats at the Philippine Culinary Competition which featured eight restaurants and chefs and attendees voted for their favourite to win. There was spoken-word poetry, an arts & crafts market and more, celebrating Filipino heritage and culture in a fun and delicious way!
When we asked Caroline about her favourite memories at KULTURA she says, “During the first 5 years of KULTURA we always had torrential rains in Toronto. So our outdoor stage was always rained out and we would go into our small performance space in Kensington Market – and it would become a hot sweaty basement jam! That’s what it’s really about, the gathering; the community sharing the work that reflects us in an artful and creative way.
For more info: kapisanancentre.com
Photos by Dwayne Fundano
Posted by Samira Zia Rehman