Tapestrama returns with goal to enhance and celebrate intercultural connections

Photo by Marjorie Roden. Members of the Kumintang FolkDance Ensemble perform a flower dance at Tapestrama in Prince Albert on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022.

Tapestrama is back.

This weekend, the Carlton Cafetorium will be filled with various performers, artisans, food and other events showcasing the wide range of cultures around Prince Albert.

“I would really like to encourage people to come so that they will learn more and see more about the diverse cultures that we have in our community. It’s beautiful, and it is also an event or a platform where everyone is welcome and very safe,” said Michelle Hassler, executive director of the Prince Albert Multicultural Council.

“It’s also about the newcomers and the immigrants learning about the Canadian culture and the Indigenous culture and histories. It’s the intercultural connections and awareness that we would like people to know.”

On both Saturday and Sunday, performers are scheduled between noon and 6 p.m. They include Lucas Welsh, Christie-Anne Blondeau, the Chinese Dance School of Saskatchewan, Ashden School of Irish Dance, Phil and Dallas Boyer and the Oral Fuentes Reggae Band.

Youth ambassador Laeticia Mwayuma has organized a fashion show, set for 1 p.m. on Saturday.

“She has some models, various newcomers and Indigenous, and they will showcase and feature their traditional clothing, the meaning of the dresses, the meaning of the jewelry, the meaning of the hairstyles,” described Hassler.

She said the fashion show brings an element of learning unique to the festival.

“We’ve learned a lot about the dances and the songs and the music, but we’ve never really learned about the traditional clothing. There’s meaning, there’s different clothing in different locations.”

Hassler said Tapestrama has been in Prince Albert for 40 years – and has particularly evolved in the past decade.

“What I’ve heard from the history, Tapestrama started from just newcomer groups gathering together,” she said.

“It has grown to a community event that is open to everyone in the community. We have seen an increased number of our Indigenous communities that are also joining in, as well as the Canadian (culture)…it’s really nice to see that growth.”

New to Tapestrama this year is well-known Indigenous hoop dancer and storyteller Terrence Littletent. He’s scheduled to perform at 5 p.m. on Saturday.

Aside from the variety of food and performers, vendors will be on site with cultural merchandise, such as Nigerian merchandise by Funmilola Fasakin Afolabi and Indian jewelry and art by Anamika Gupta.

Hassler said Tapestrama is one of the multicultural council’s largest annual events.

The festival is part of Culture Days from Sept. 22 to Oct. 15. 

On Saturday, there’s also an open house from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Arts Centre with the potters guild, rocks and gems, spinners and weavers, Northern Image Photography and Studio 1010. From 2 to 4 p.m., the Prince Albert Historical Society is hosting an event to learn about Canada’s British Home Children.