Our lineup will take you on a global journey of art and culture, with a diverse range of art and artists whose works speak to stories that go beyond borders and boundaries.
Abdul-Rehman Malik is an award-winning journalist, educator, cultural organizer, and host of the Aga Khan Museum’s popular podcast This Being Human, featuring extraordinary stories on the kaleidoscope of Muslim experience. His work at the intersection of arts and social change has spanned the globe, with projects in Canada, the U.S., U.K., Pakistan, Sudan, Mali, Malaysia, and more. Malik is currently a lecturer at the Yale Divinity School as well as director of the Muslim Leadership Lab at Yale’s Dwight Hall Center of Social Justice.
Matt Donovan and Hallie Siegel are Toronto-based visual artists who take the long view to explore the hopes and anxieties brought about by major technological disruptions. Their collaborative works are held in private and public collections and have been widely exhibited across North America and Europe, and they were the featured artists at the 2016 Edinburgh Arts Festival. In Toronto, they have been represented by Olga Korper Gallery since 2007.
Singer-songwriter and percussionist Darlene Gijuminag’s love of music has been informed by her Mi’gmag First Nations culture and inspired by the sounds of nature. Born in Gesgapegiag, Quebec, Gijuminag grew up listening to traditional music, and was greatly influenced by the more contemporary music of Buffy Sainte-Marie. Gijuminag’s drumming and vocal style ranges from the gentle to the fiery. For more than 15 years, she been performing at festivals and concerts in Canada and the U.S.
Pakistani sitar star Anwar Khurshid’s journey as a composer and vocalist has spanned decades of studying Indian classical music, in Pakistan, India, and Canada. His interest in integrating Indian classical with world music has led to projects in Middle Eastern, Japanese, and Chinese music, as well as collaborations with blues band Paul DesLauriers, jazz trumpeter Bruce Cassidy, flamenco and Cuban jazz musicians Sultans of String, among others. His music was also featured in the Oscar-winning film Life of Pi.
Compañia Carmen Romero is led by award-winning flamenco dance artist Carmen Romero and features percussionist Rosendo Chendy León Arocha, guitarist Benjamin Barrile and vocalist Leen Hamo. Romero creates dance that is passionate and visceral and her vast experience includes winning the Chalmers Award, K.M Hunter Artists award and a Dora nomination for Best Choreography; along with being featured at the Certamen de Coreografía de Danza Española y Flamenco, International Castanet Festival, Canadian Stage and National Arts Centre, amongst others.
Majd Sekkar is a Syrian-Canadian clarinetist whose style fuses Middle Eastern folk and classical music with jazz. Arriving in Toronto in 2016, he quickly made his mark in the local music scene with his unique improvisation. He is a member of the Canadian Arabic Orchestra and has taught Arab music theory at the Canadian Arabic Conservatory of Music. Throughout his career, Sekkar has shared the stage with renowned international musical artists, including the legendary Iranian pop singer Aref Arefkia.
Ali Sethi is a Pakistani singer-songwriter and author, who was first globally recognized for his 2009 debut novel, The Wish Maker. A few years later, Sethi began focusing on music, releasing a single which was featured on the soundtrack of The Reluctant Fundamentalist. He went on to release numerous cover singles and appeared on several seasons of the popular TV series Coke Studio. Sethi began releasing original music in 2019 and has collaborated with the Grammy Award-winning producer Noah Georgeson.
Beijing-born Wen Zhao is an internationally acclaimed virtuoso of the pipa, an ancient Chinese four-stringed lute, having studied under the renowned pipa master Wang Fan Di at the China Conservatory of Music. Wen has lived in Toronto since 1997 and teaches pipa at York University. She has appeared at music festivals worldwide, touring in China, Europe, Canada, and the U.S. and has collaborated with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and the U.K.’s Grand Union Orchestra.
We extend our heartfelt appreciation to the Lapis Gala Committee who have guided the development of this year’s event:
Nasir Noormohamed (Chair)
Zahra Karimi Janmohamed
This free event would not be possible without the support of our sponsors. Their generosity has made this innovative and unique event accessible to local, national, and international audiences. Interested in sponsoring? Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.