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Traditional and Contemporary Masks In An Urban Setting

On May 9th 2017, DECA organized and hosted an exhibition of Traditional and Contemporary Masks in an Urban Setting. We invited the public to witness the beautiful masks, both traditional and modern contemporary, to honour our relations and oral traditions. The exhibition will run from May 9th to the 27th and will feature the work of the downtown eastside community members both indigenous (for Native masks) and non-indigenous (for contemporized masks).


Masks are used in many indigenous cultures as a form of expression, storytelling and in first nations culture they are used in many traditional ceremonies. Traditional masks have played an important role in first national cultures for thousand of years. They carry the historic stories of the peoples of the land, move to inspire future generations and give context to the relationships between families and communities.


The practice of carving masks is usually passed down by a traditional teacher and the student may learn from a number of teachers and eventually integrate his own style into what he

The Downtown Eastside Centre for the Arts held a community workshop inviting people to participate and create their own masks. The result was wonderfully diverse personal interpretations of what masks mean to individuals from the downtown eastside community. These masks were featured alongside the Traditional Masks.

The opening featured the Culture Saves
Lives Drummers, as well as the Gwax'as Kiwalayu Dancers. The exhibition was hosted by the
Downtown Eastside Centre for the Arts (DECA) and marked the official return of DECA to the community.

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