New London festival will celebrate British-Chinese contemporary art

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British-Chinese performance and culture will take center stage at the CAN Festival 2019, running from Jan 19 to Feb 2. [Photo provided to China Daily]

British-Chinese performance and culture will take center stage at a festival dedicated to contemporary arts created by artists of Chinese extraction. The festival will be held in the British capital early next year.

The CAN Festival 2019 is the first major project from Chinese Arts Now, an Arts Council-funded body that celebrates and promotes artists of Chinese extraction in the United Kingdom, both those born in Britain and those from the wider Chinese diaspora.

Described by organizers as the first arts festival celebrating contemporary British-Chinese arts, more than 60 events will take place throughout London showcasing a diverse range of art forms, including music, drama, live art, dance, films, and digital arts.

Chinese Arts Now, which is also known as CAN, said the festival will present high-quality contemporary and innovative Chinese arts and aims to raise the profile of British-Chinese artists in the United Kingdom.

Chang An-Ting, CAN's artistic director, said the event aims to show a different side of Chinese arts to the traditional lion dancing and Peking opera that some people in the UK may have seen.

"They are all great Chinese traditions, but I think there is a gap in showing contemporary Chinese culture" she said, "We don't live in a time where we just perform lion dances, we have contemporary theater, new music, and we have innovative artists. I think it is very important for our festival to showcase this perspective."

British-Chinese performance and culture will take center stage at the CAN Festival 2019, running from Jan 19 to Feb 2. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Highlights of next year's festival will include a site-specific drama about a British Chinese family called Citizens of Nowhere? and a combination of Chinese and European instruments played as part of the London Symphony Orchestra's Chinese String Quartet & LSO Strings.

Bounce Beat is alive ping pong percussion performance with a piano trio which is part of the Southbank Centre's Soundstate festival. Also included is a fusion of Debussy's music with a classical Chinese story in Lao Can Impression.

Chang said: "CAN Festival will present contemporary British-Chinese stories and new works that fuse Chinese heritage and European culture in innovative ways. We are proud to work with a wide range of talented British-Chinese artists, and to give them a platform at some of the most prestigious arts venues in London."

Chang added that the event takes on a different perspective to previous Chinese arts events, such as the China Changing Festival, which was held at London's Southbank Centre, because the focus of this event is firmly upon contemporary British-Chinese artists and performances.

The CAN Festival 2019 will run from Jan 19 to Feb 2.

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