Five new projects, ranging from banners and posters to videos and a mural, have joined Vancouver’s public art collection in an exhibition to honour and celebrate the City’s Year of Reconciliation. The City’s Public Art Program commissioned 10 new artist projects overall with the first five debuting in March 2014 and new projects being introduced monthly through August 2014.
The works will appear in bus shelters; on video screens located in the downtown core; as large-scale banners in the atrium of the Vancouver Public Library downtown; and as an over-sized photo mural at the Canada Line City Centre Station. The artworks that debut in March were created by Canadian artists with backgrounds from Vancouver, Hong Kong, the Okanagan Nation’s Upper Nicola Band and the Kwakwaka’wakw culture of Quadra Island.
Brian Liu has created a new set of six banners for the Vancouver Public Library downtown which depict hands making welcoming gestures on a painterly background of abstract colour. They serve as an invitation to witness the process of understanding, healing and reconciliation. The banners will be installed from March through October.
The Granville and Georgia entrance of the Canada Line City Centre Station will host Krista Belle Stewart’s Her Story, a large photo mural derived from a production still from a 1967 CBC documentary about her mother, the first Aboriginal public health nurse in BC. The image reflects personal and institutional histories and the complexities of residential school history. It will be on display from March to September.
Stewart’s companion video will air on the dual screens at Robson and Granville through March. This work also draws on the original footage from the CBC documentary about the artist’s mother, Seraphine: Her Own Story (1967). It touches on the young woman’s journey from residential school to UBC and the city. The video will be shown on the CBC Plaza screen in April and on the VanCity Theatre outdoor screen in May and then cycle through each venue again until August.
A video by Jeremy Borsos will air on the screen at CBC plaza at Hamilton and Georgia in March. The contemplative video dwells on a hand-written excerpt from the official apology to the Aboriginal Peoples of Canada for the residential schools. The video will also be on the VanCity outdoor screen in April and Robson and Granville screens in May.
A series of eight transit shelter posters by Sonny Assu will appear in various sites around the city. The brightly coloured images pair the word “reconciliation” with “teach”, “honour”, “hope”, “lead”, “learn”, “rise”. The posters will appear from early March to early April 2014.
From April to August, new works will premiere from Emilie Crewe (Vancouver), Alexa Hatanaka (Toronto), Tania Willard/Gabrielle Hill/Peter Morin (BC), Bracken Hanuse Corlett (Vancouver) Jeannette Sirois (Surrey) and Dionne Paul (Sechelt).
Vancouver City Council proclaimed June 21, 2013 to June 20, 2014, as a Year of Reconciliation in Vancouver in response to Reconciliation Canada’s national call to action to help build more inclusive communities.
The year-long effort includes gatherings, intercultural dialogue and storytelling workshops, public education, and cultural and arts programs as ways to mend the past, build shared understanding, and to create a legacy for meaningful change in society. http://vancouver.ca/people-programs/year-of-reconciliation.aspx
The call to Canadian artists was issued in the fall of 2013. A panel of Aboriginal artists and curators selected the projects to be commissioned from 55 submissions from across Canada.
Artist Bios – Reconciliation Public Art 2014
Sonny Assu, Verdun, Quebec
Sonny Assu grew up in North Delta, BC, away from his ancestral home in Cape Mudge and Kwakwaka’wakw culture. He graduated from Emily Carr University in 2002. In an exploration of his mixed ancestry, he works across disciplines and appropriates and transforms items of consumer and popular culture and First Nations iconography.
Jeremy Borsos, Mayne Island, British Columbia
Jeremy Borsos lives and works on Mayne Island, British Columbia and in Berlin, Germany. He enrolled at the Emily Carr School of Art in 1983 before moving to New York, where he lived and attended the Arts Students League. He has had numerous regional, national and international exhibitions of his artworks. These works investigate various media as artefact and the ways they are used to interpret the past.
Brian Liu, Vancouver, British Columbia
Brian Liu was born and raised in Hong Kong until immigrating to Vancouver, BC in 1993. He graduated from Emily Carr University in 2009. His work in both art and design shows strong influence from street art, Chinese cultural artwork, and modern graphic design. Much of his paintings show strong elements of design structure and methodology, and his design work shows clear influence from his painting practices.
Krista Belle Stewart, Vancouver, BC
Krista Belle Stewart is an interdisciplinary artist who grew up as a member of the Okanagan Nation’s Upper Nicola Band. She holds a BFA from Emily Carr University and is currently working on a MFA from Bard College in New York. Recent exhibition and performance history includes Music from the New Wilderness at The Western Front, Shelved at the Burnaby Art Gallery and the Fiction/Non-fiction at the Esker Foundation (Calgary).
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