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artwork by Amir Ali AlibhaiTitle

The cultural terrain in Canada in the early 1990’s was faced with the challenges of race/identity politics and issues of systemic in/exclusion of artists of colour from the Canadian arts and culture scene. The Canadian challenge, given our “multicultural paradigm” was different than that of the black/white binary of UK’s Black Arts Movement and USA’s “melting pot”. The Rungh Cultural Society was founded in 1991 in response to a gaping need for a pan-South Asian presence in arts and cultural communities in Canada. One of the society’s main projects from 1992-2000 was the publication of an international contemporary arts journal, Rungh Magazine—A South Asian Quarterly of Culture, Comment and Criticism. The Society and Rungh Magazine included the energies and voices of names that are now well known but were then considered “emerging’, names such as MG Vassanji (writer/publisher), Shani Mootoo (writer/poet/visual artist), George Elliot Clarke (writer/poet/academic), Ian Iqbal Rashid (filmmaker/screenwriter), Lillian Allen (poet), Ali Kazimi (documentary filmmaker) and others.

Rungh was a pioneer as a society and as a journal. It created bridges between various communities of artists (whether defined by race, culture, geography, sexuality, gender) and stimulated the arts dialogue of the 90’s. It provided a role model for similar organizations and projects such as Rice Paper and Diaspora. Rungh, despite having a South Asian focus, was not essentialist but rather inclusive to many community voices. There had been little like us before in the Canadian cultural landscape—a credible, professional journal of record presenting the conversation and concerns of Canadian Artists of Colour, all in a graphic design package that itself sought to visually express the experience of cultures meeting and fusing in harmony and contradiction.

Who is Rungh?

The Rungh Cultural Society is an incorporated Canadian not-for-profit organization active in the cultural sector. The Rungh Advisory Board includes:

  • Dr. Ramabai Espinet Ramabai Espinet - academic, writer and critic. Professor of English at Seneca College in Toronto. Published Canadian author
  • Ian Iqbal Rashid - poet, writer and film writer-director.
  • Chris Creighton-Kelly - interdisciplinary artist, writer and critic.
  • Ali Kazimi Ali Kazimi - filmmaker, director and cinematographer.
  • Ashok Mathur - writer, Canada Research Chair in Cultural and Artistic Inquiry at Thompson River University (Kamloops, BC) and Research Associate at Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design.
  • Dr. Yasmin Jiwani - author and Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Concordia Univeristy, Montreal.
  • Shahid Quadri - web designer and all around fool.

Curator Sherazad Jamal has over 15 years experience in visual art, architecture, creative writing, graphic
design, magazine publishing and arts policy. She has a BA in English literature from UBC, and a Bachelor of
Environmental Design and a Masters in Architecture from Dalhousie University. Her artwork draws on such
themes as cultural narrative, myth/spirituality/ritual, cultural diversity and the immigrant experience.

 

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Copyright © 2006 Rungh Cultural Society. The Rungh Cultural Society is a non-profit dedicated to the development and presentation of Contemporary South Asian cultural production.
Contact Rungh at: PO Box 24925, Station F · Vancouver, BC  V5N 5L4 · info@rungh.org