Lectures and Talks

Art Connects | Afro Van Connect

Fri Apr 3, 4:30 PM

Vancouver Art Gallery

Stay home. Stay safe. Stay connected with our new series of online gatherings, Art Connects!

In response to the temporary closure of the exhibition spaces due to the current global health pandemic, the Gallery has launched Art Connects to encourage dialogue and connection in the era of physical distancing.

Every Tuesday and Friday, the Gallery will stream live and interactive conversations into your homes, featuring guests from local and international arts communities. Everyone is invited to join through the webinar platform Zoom.

As we navigate these strange and uncertain times, it’s important to remember that art has the power to connect individuals, communities and cultures. No matter its form, art encourages communication, broadens perspectives, enriches the mind and renews the spirit.

New to Zoom? Learn how to register and attend a webinar here »

Afro Van Connect on Futurism and Freestyling

Friday, April 3 | 4:30 PM


In conjunction with the exhibition The Tin Man Was a Dreamer: Allegories, Poetics and Performances of Power, the Gallery invites Afro Van Connect founders Dae Shields and Buni Kor to discuss freestyling, power and exchange in music.

Joined by artist Quentin VerCetty and emcee reaLije, they will share their thoughts on Black spaces, speculative futures and Afrofuturism, before presenting a live freestyle performance.

The discussion will be moderated by Stephanie Bokenfohr, Adult Programs Coordinator.


Afro Van Connect aims to empower the voices of African Descent Youth through conversation, collaboration, creation and performance. They are dedicated to innovating authentic solutions and to increasing the visibility of underrepresented diaspora communities. They gather weekly at The Remix Café to give young creatives access to equipment, education, training, networks and opportunities, empowering them to creatively and economically flourish and building a platform to celebrate their heritage and diaspora cultural experiences.

Dae Shields is the founder and Executive Director of Afro Van Connect, a community advocate, musician, designer and events coordinator. As an emcee under the stage name ebonEmpress, Shields aims to share her lived experience as a Jamaican Canadian with her community. She is also bassist and front woman for Ital Blue, formed in 2017. Ital Blue strives to spread awareness about the injustice that African communities face to this day and to show the impact that people of African Descent have had on Canadian culture and cultures around the world.

Moses Brown Andeku, who performs as Buni Kor, was born and raised in Vancouver, BC. His parents immigrated to North America from Uganda in the late 1980s, seeking refuge after a military coup. Kor grew up in a large immediate family as the youngest of sixteen siblings. Raised in an Islamic household with strong African Cultural beliefs, he feels fortunate to have lived all over the Lower Mainland around different cultures and ethnicities, witnessing the spectrum of precarious street activity to affluent domestic suburbs, which he references as the source of his musical influences and inspirations.

Currently based in Quebec, Quentin VerCetty is an award-winning visual storyteller, art educator and graduate of OCAD University. His work uses speculative narratives, like afrofuturism, to address issues of representation, immigration, decolonization and the lack of, what he calls, PDAA (Public Displays of Appreciation for Africa(ns)). VerCetty has exhibited work internationally, and his passion for art-ivism—using art as a tool for social change—led him to start the Canadian chapter of the Black Speculative Arts Movement (BSAMCanada) in Toronto in 2016. Through his work, he hopes to engage minds and inspire hearts to help make the world a better place, not only for today but for many tomorrows to come.

reaLije is a multidisciplinary artist whose craft is inspired through the foundations of hip-hop culture. He has been beatboxing and emceeing for ten years. reaLije graduated from Etobicoke School of the Arts as a Drama Major in 2012, and then went on to study Environment and Urban Sustainability at Ryerson University. reaLije continues to produce underground local arts and music events in Toronto and Vancouver.


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