Matapa’s story began when a gap in the Hamilton arts scene was identified. The founding partners noted, that although Hamilton is home to a culturally diverse population (according to the 2011 National Household Survey, 24.5% of Hamiltonians are immigrants), there was no organization dedicated to professionally curating and presenting art from a variety of cultures. This illustrated that it was essential for Hamilton to have an organization, that would create the opportunity for the local community to engage with their own heritage through music and arts, and, to learn from other cultures and communities that now call Hamilton home.
Matapa Music and Arts Organization is an organization working to celebrate cultural diversity through the presentation of music and arts, festivals and education, while recognizing and further establishing southern Ontario, specifically Hamilton and Inhambane in Mozambique as a vibrant cultural communities that promotes the best in music and arts with origins from around the world.
-engaging and increasing the involvement of Hamilton's and Inhambane’s culturally diverse communities in artistic presentations
- establishing Hamilton and Inhambane as a significant stop on the world arts touring circuit (by providing different streams of programming)
- establishing programmes that bring together artists from disparate global traditions for performance and collaboration
- promoting interest in and practice of musical, visual, literary, and performance arts
- creating opportunities for cultural exchanges
The Matapa World Music Series began in 2012 as a series of performances by four internationally recognized artists. In 2013, as the need for presenting consistent and professional programming for Hamilton's culturally diverse community became more evident, the World Music Series was expanded to 8 artists and bands, with performance nearly every month.
The Roots en Route Festival, celebrating Black History Month, began in February 2013 with a desire to create opportunities for local artists to perform at professionally presented events. In addition, Matapa sought to provide a venue for the local community to learn, share and celebrate the diversity of the black Canadian and global experience in Hamilton. The Roots en Route festival features a variety of artistic mediums including dance, theatre, film, poetry and music.
In June 2013, Matapa launched the Queer Cabaret, as an annual celebration of the lives and art of LGBTQ2S people of colour. The Cabaret came out of recognition that LGBTQ2S people of colour experience marginalization in both LGBTQ spaces and other explicitly “cultural” spaces. The Queer Cabaret was, to our knowledge, the first event of its kind in Hamilton, and has since set the precedent for more culturally diverse programming in the LGBTQ community. This artistic celebration also serves as an annual event, around which the LGBTQ2S- of-colour community can coalesce.
In July 2014 Matapa leaped and hosted its first annual Matapa Music Festival (formerly Hamilton World Music Festival); a free three-day summer festival featuring a wide variety of leading world music performers and local artists, to the entire Hamilton community. The festival aims to increase the accessibility of world music for economically marginalized communities, including (but certainly not exclusive to) immigrants, people of colour and indigenous peoples.
In partnership with Hamilton Music Collective and An Instrument for Every Child, we bring artists from from around the world that explores their own traditional instrument to share with Kids in Hamilton Schools so they can learn about music from around the world.
One of Matapa's goals is to facilitate networking between artists worldwide. Our first pilot project, “AfriConnections,” focuses on building connections between Southern Africa and Canada to establish a vibrant network of musicians, dancers, actors, visual artists, managers and related professionals. We aim to continually strengthen the arts and provide frequent opportunities for information sharing and exposure to various “world music and arts” stages.