The arts scene moves into Chinatown

Art galleries and creative spaces have been steadily setting up shop in Chinatown, but with new businesses entering the neighbourhood, some are wondering whether it will affect the community’s culture, history, and economic value. The Central Art Garage, a conceptual art gallery located at Somerset Street West and Lebreton Street North, opened in 2013 in a renovated auto repair shop. When co-owner of the gallery Danny Hussey moved in four year ago, he said the arts scene hadn’t yet formed in Chinatown. “When we moved in here, there wasn’t very much,” Hussey said. “Over time, I think people start to gravitate to a certain space.” Neighbourhoods such as Westboro and Hintonburg are pricing themselves out of the market for many […]

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Letter: Cultural appropriation erases the reality of oppression

In light of the controversial “appropriation prize” that led to the resignation of Jonathan Kay, former editor-in-chief of The Walrus, a much-needed discussion on cultural appropriation has risen in Canada. Kay resigned after the publication of an editorial on how cultural appropriation is non-existent. The Twitterverse was in an uproar over Canadian media leaders discussing support for an “appropriation prize.” As a Black woman of Caribbean descent who was born and raised in Canada, an expression of systemic racism that never seems to lose its sting for me is that of cultural appropriation. It successfully combines aspects of white privilege, stereotypes and prejudices, and cultural erasure all in one hot, racist mess and yet it is often defended and justified […]

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Yoga: cultural appropriation, commercialization, and how the tradition has evolved over time

“Yoga’s not about making money off people . . . You get these perversions happening. It’s not everybody doing it, but the problem is that it is a pervasive problem. The irony is that censoring my class is like making that problem worse,” said Jen Scharf, former yoga instructor at the University of Ottawa (U of O). Last November, Scharf’s free yoga class offered through the University of Ottawa’s Centre for Students with Disabilities was cancelled because of concerns about cultural appropriation. Publications as far-reaching as the Washington Post and the BBC covered the scandal, sparking an international debate about whether or not yoga, as it is practiced in the West, is cultural appropriation. Earlier this week, the Student Federation […]

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Letter: Cultural appropriation is only concerning when it’s harmful

The recent cancelling of a free yoga class at the University of Ottawa (U of O) started many conversations about cultural appropriation, and the validity of commercialized spiritual practices. I’m of the opinion that just about anyone who practices yoga is guilty of cultural appropriation, and if the far left had their way, all of us oppressors would live our lives stiff, stressed, and unable to touch our own toes. I don’t have a problem with practicing yoga. In fact, I’d say the problem isn’t yoga, but yogi. Not yogi as in associated with a religious practice, but the fact that the word is thrown around a lot on social media. It’s in hashtags such as #yogilife, and a lot […]

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Opinion: Appropriation and appreciation are different

Before I start, I’ll warn you that I am a privileged white woman who is about to write about cultural appropriation. Cultural appropriation is a newly acknowledged phenomenon, which leaves it open to multiple interpretations. It came into public consciousness around 2013, the year Miley Cyrus made twerking a thing. She raised questions about whether she was stealing aspects of another culture and profiting off of them. According to a New York Times article, cultural appropriation is “pretending for fun or profit to be a member of an ethnic, racial or gender group to which you do not belong.” Other sources state, more specifically, it is exploiting aspects of a minority group. Since then, society has become more aware of […]

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