21 February – 23 April 2023
The Bagri Foundation is proud to be the headline supporter of the Kakilang Festival 2023 (formerly Chinese Arts Now CAN), a unique multi-artform festival which celebrates the work of artists from across the wide spectrum of East and Southeast Asian heritages. Eight extraordinary events platforming theatre, dance, visual arts, live music, cabaret and puppetry will be staged from the 21 February – 23 April 2023 in a selection of London’s leading arts venues including the Barbican, Omnibus Theatre, Rich Mix, Shoreditch Town Hall, Two Temple Place and The Yard.
Kakilang’s eclectic festival programme, spread across 8 weeks, also includes: STATE-LESS, a major co-production with Two Temple Place of an eclectic visual arts exhibition bringing together for the first time the work of 10 internationally acclaimed East and Southeast Asian artists using mediums including film, digital and photography to explore the tangible borders and invisible boundaries that define their identities; TASTE is a radical celebration of Queer Southeast and East Asian artistry, a queer cabaret night hosted by Princess Xixi featuring everything from drag to dance; EVERY DOLLAR IS A SOLDIER/WITH MONEY YOU’RE A DRAGON by Daniel York Loh, a part gig-theatre, part spoken word rap and part concert lament on the immigrant experience, particularly the harsh travails of the impoverished first Chinese settlers in London, will have its live PREMIERE, seen in the setting it was originally intended for. Accompanied by a mix of electronic music composed by An-Ting 安婷 and featuring world-leading Chinese classical instrumentation artists Cheng Yu on the pipa and Wang Xiao on the erhu; LIGHT VESSEL, the continuation of an avant-garde durational art performance by contemporary circus artists Hazel Lam and Lucia Palladino explores the ‘power in gentleness’; Acclaimed theatremaker and performer Tobi Poster Su presents THE LONESOME DEATH OF ENG BUNKER, a new gothic horror tale of the final hours of Eng (of Chang and Eng fame) utilising puppetry, music and striptease. Legend of the contemporary dance scene Jo Fong, with clown and circus director George Orange, present their hit physical theatre show THE REST OF OUR LIVES, a cabaret of life and near death featuring dance, circus and games. Closing the festival on a high note, acclaimed singer/songwriter Emmy The Great returns with her first major gig in two years, She will be performing an exciting EP of new material exploring her Hong Kong past and her British present commissioned by Kakilang as well as a set of old favourites.
Formerly known as Chinese Arts Now (CAN) rebranded in September 2022. Kakilang produces and presents world-class art, and pioneers multi-disciplinary artforms from a wide spectrum of Southeast and East Asian voices. Since becoming a National Portfolio Organisation in 2018, the company has built an extensive network of partner organisations including Southbank Centre, Soho Theatre, LSO St Luke’s, BFI, Young Vic, The Place and PRS Foundation, Asia House, Chopsticks Club and many more. We also have a close relationship with regional companies such as Pagoda Arts and the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Arts in North West England.
Origin of Kakilang – Kakilang: ‘one of us’ in Hokkien*, evoking kinship and affinity, widely used amongst East and Southeast Asian diasporic groups. *Hokkien: a group of Minnanhua 閩南語 / Ban-lam-oe dialects, “the speech south of the Min River”, the most widely distributed of the Min languages. Minnanhua is spoken by slightly over 46 million inhabitants of the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and Philippines.
Gallery images credits: Home X, Kakilang Festival 2023, Photos by Lidia Crisafulli.