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'Beyond our Roots' Art Exhibition Kicks Off Latin-Afro-South Asian Festival

by Kelly Pflug-Back

Beyond Our Roots, a visual arts exhibition launched by the Latino Canadian Cultural Association (LCCA), in partnership with Canadiens et Canadiennes d’Origine Africaine, Antillaise et Asiatique (CANORAAA), and Toronto artist and musician Rosina Kazi, opened Thursday May 29th at Parkdale's Gallery 1313. Beyond Our Roots is the premiere event of the Latin-Afro-South Asian Festival of Music, Dance and a Visual Arts, which will continue in September with music and dance events featuring Matadanze, the JDT Trio, Rakkatak, LAL, and others.

“Beyond our Roots is about the fact that we come from different cultures of Latin America, and in Canada it gets fused in this diverse environment, becoming something completely different.” Said Alejandro Freeland, curator of the show and executive director of the LCCA. “That's why we have worked with African, First Nations and South Asian communities in different festivals of music, dance, and visual arts over the years.”

Freeland said he wishes to bring attention to the commonalities and expressions of solidarity between Latin, African, Diasporan, and South Asian cultures. “In Toronto, so many communities live in peace with each other, whereas in some places in the world you have two communities and they kill each other until the last drop of blood.”

Rosina Kazi, a member of the electronic music ensemble LAL and coordinator of South Asian artists for the Latin-Afro-South Asian Festival, said that she feels it is important to build bridges between community arts, professional arts, and social justice movements. “Quite often in Toronto, people get put into these little boxes, and the points of contact between cultures get ignored. But this project has felt like a family, like something very honest and very rooted in community.” Ensuring accessibility has been an important part of organizing the festival, Kazi said, since Toronto's cultural events are increasingly becoming prohibitively expensive for low-income people.

Beyond Our Roots will run until June 8th. The LCCA will be posting the dates and venues of upcoming festival events at


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