“Both in his craft and in his integrity as a human being, a writer must be political. Often he is the only conscience functioning within a country.”
– George Ryga: Social Responsibilities of Writers, 1971
Everything George Ryga wrote was political: whether he spoke out against Canadian government subsidy to the giant aluminum company Brascan which was destroying the Amazon basin and its indigenous peoples, or about the lack of Canadian authors on the local school curriculum.
Not all artists are political. Some, forced to be contemplative by the nature of their work, struggle to find a meaningful place in society. Others are intensely social and sensitive to all the issues of our turbulent contemporary life. They write stories, plays and songs protesting injustice and inequality.
We have invited people from both sides of this divide to join in a virtual discussion about the role and responsibilities of the artist, as they relate to our region and country at this particular moment.
Inspired by George Ryga, the Ryga Arts Festival is a vibrant celebration of the arts in the spectacular Okanagan valley of British Columbia.