Carnaval del Sol brings warmth and passion of Latin America to Vancouver

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      The sunny spirit of Latin America is alive and well in Vancouver.

      Despite a global pandemic, the always festive Carnaval del Sol is underway in Vancouver until August 9.

      "We don't give up," festival executive director Paola Murillo says.

      That's because in her view, everything is possible.

      "We're not throwing in the towel," she adds. "We're expanding."

      As part of the largest Latin American festival in the Pacific Northwest, Carnaval del Sol has launched an online series called Across the Americas.

      Here's a video preview of the Across the Americas series.

      It will feature talent from Vancouver to Patagonia in episodes airing on the festival's social media channels on July 22 and 29, as well as August 1, 5, and 8.

      In addition, each episode will include film picks from Christian Sida-Valenzuela, the Mexican-born director of the Vancouver Latin American Film Festival.

      "We're going to bring our joy," Murillo says. "We want to bring our artists, our culture. We want more people to know who we are—and what we can bring to the world, especially in these times."

      Anyone who wants to donate to the festival can do so here.

      Paola Murillo organizes Carnaval del Sol from the offices of the Latin Plaza Hub in Gastown.
      Charlie Smith

      Like Murillo, the festival's project manager, Pablo Zacarias, has experience in event management.

      He had to figure out what to do once it became clear that the 12th edition of Carnaval del Sol could not welcome tens of thousands of people to Concord Pacific Place like in past years.

      The mandate of Latincouver, which is a related organization, has always been to promote understanding of Latin America in Vancouver, including the diversity of the countries in the region.

      "We're going to have music from all over the place," Zacarias says. "We're going to have amazing chefs. Visual artists. We're bringing all of this together so you can have an experience of a little bit of what we love about Latin America."

      He expects this will be incorporated within the festival in coming years, in addition to local artists.

      Check out the first episode of Carnaval del Sol's Across the Americas series.

      Artist will offer workshop on blockchain funding

      On Saturday (July 18), the festival will feature an interactive Zoom workshop with Colombian-born, Brooklyn-based artist Jessica Angel.

      She encourages the use of blockchain technologies to produce and fund large piece of art.

      Her workshop will focus on that. It begins at 10 a.m. and is available online here

      Angel is creating a new large-scale immersive mural for the Vancouver Biennale of Public Art 2020.

      Her installation has been inspired by the city's environmentally friendly neighbourhood energy utility that is connected to the Olympic Village.

      Jessica Angel explains the inner workings of her latest project, which will be unveiled as part of Vancouver Biennale.

      Angel's artwork is expected to be unveiled beneath the southern end of the Cambie Bridge in late summer.

      Carnaval del Sol is also encouraging local community members and their many friends to celebrate from August 7 to 9 in their favourite Latin American restaurants, which will feature live music and exclusive discounts. To check out which establishments are participating, visit the festival's website.

      And if there's one thing that Latin Americans love across many countries, it's the many forms of dance that are popular in the region.

      Check out the video below to see some examples.

      Video: Watch this inspiring and emotional trailer for Carnaval del Sol.

      En Español...

      Here's the Spanish-language trailer for the festival.