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Culture Days will return September 20 – October 13, 2024.

invoking memory that never sheds its potency


History & heritage Intercultural Music Poetry & spoken word Storytelling
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Richmond Cultural Center


Richmond, BC



Offered in English.

Wheelchair accessible.


" the observer dances around the sun

and touched by rain, wind and snow

it knows breaking open will burn

(still), the awareness goes after itself

and is water that moves

in and out of roots:

You know it's there.

You just can't see it...

(By Sophea Heang, July 2023)

This untitled poem is offered by Richmond resident, Sophea Heang, who invites you to join her in exploring expressive arts in a fun, safe and collaborative space. A poet, and spoken word artist, Sophea Heang will recite her latest work in this two-hour long interactive poetic experience.

This twenty- minute spoken word exhibit will close with a ten-minute, question and answer period, and an hour and a half, Open Mic for participants, who wish to tell a story. Is there a memory or a story from your past that is gnawing at you? Please, come and share with us, how you will make meaning and reconnect with your story?

The vignettes were inspired by the artist’s on-going journey of reconnecting with her Khmer (Cambodian) roots, and the negotiating of her Canadian roots. There’s a navigation between tension and fluidity, where self-discovery and self-love take lead.

The artist’s creative process involves framing tons of questions to ignite the spark! You’re invited to enter the event with your own sets of questions about what matters to you, most.

What is memory? How does memory shape our sense of self? How does it inform the way we interact with the people around us? How does it shape our sense of belonging? How does memory inform our place in our communities?

'our scars become paper kisses, and ink rewrites our stories' (By Sophea Heang, 2019)



Sophea Heang

With the generous support of the Canada Council for the Arts, Sophea is researching, through a poetry and prose memoir (first book) she's currently writing, " the inter-generational genocidal experience of Cambodian-Canadians who migrated to Canada in the 1980s". Established, emerging and intersecting themes of: diaspora, sense of belonging and place, inter-generational trauma, bi-culturalism, cultural heritage and roots and other concepts coalesce as the very personal research process enfolds for the artist.

After her first book is published in early 2024, Sophea Heang will refine the remaining manuscripts, that ought to produce several books of poetry inspired by her twin daughters, Angelina and Ailyana, who passed away in August, 2012 and continue to be her muse.

At the core of understanding displacement, is the examination of how conscious and unconscious memory alchemizes and integrates into the whole being, of a person. For example, how do we make meaningful connections, with a sense of place that is rooted with tangible qualities of space and time, to a more implicit attribute of place that exists as a vivid or a blurred memory in the mind. How do we connect these threads of visibility and invisibility, particularly when consequently, the physical landmark of that memory, has been abolished.

For example, what is the experience of a Cambodian-Canadian who returns to Cambodia to revisit their homeland and in an attempt to locate previously known landmarks, such as their childhood home, their childhood friend's home, does so only to learn that the physical building no longer exists? How does one reconcile in one’s mind, the experience of memory that is no longer verifiable in physical terms? How are 'shadows' of memory addressed in healing and transformation?

This event is part of a hub:

Richmond Cultural Centre & Public Library

City of Richmond Richmond, BC

Richmond Cultural Centre is home to many of Richmond’s essential cultural amenities: Richmond Art Gallery, Richmond Museum, City of Richmond Archives, Richmond Arts Centre, Media Lab, Performance Hall, Rooftop Garden, as well as accessible...