Saturday, November 26, 2016
Collage Collage, 3697 Main St
2:00 – 4:00 pm


Shako Cup is an artist edition/unconventional publication for Cindy Mochizuki’s project Shako Club, produced in collaboration with Tonari Gumi — a long-standing organization serving primarily Japanese-language speaking elders — in the summer of 2015. Drawing from the project’s focus on food, wellness and the social life of the kitchen, Shako Cup serves as both a publication and an object for flavourful contemplation. Custom-designed by Mochizuki and ceramicist Maggie Boyd, the edition is accompanied by a text by award-winning
author Hiromi Goto and a unique tasseography (tea leaf reading) map, created in collaboration with members of Tonari Gumi. Inspired by intergenerational exchange, Shako Cup encourages a host of ways to pass time, tell stories and imagine possible futures.

The cup is produced in a limited edition of 150, and will be available at select venues and in our online store.

The launch event will include a reading from Hiromi Goto’s text. Tea and snacks will be served.

RSVP to the Facebook event here…

Read Hiromi Goto’s text “Cup” in English or in Japanese.
Shako Cup | Cindy Mochizuki


Shako Club | Blog Post

grunt gallery is happy to share the following Shako Club experience by Tara Robertson. Be sure to visit her blog.


Here’s the lunch box I received today from Shako Club.

11743007_10153394032260734_6053153501424641400_nI applied to receive a bento box a couple of months ago. The application process was a slightly odd questionnaire that I had some trouble answering. I don’t often get songs stuck in my head and it’s hard to pick my absolute favourite story from my childhood. We were told that our bento contents would be determined by the answers to this questionnaire.

The theme of land, sea, mountains is represented here with:

– top left (land) – chicken karaage, half a boiled egg on lettuce with 2 perfect crunchy cucumber sticks underneath

– top right (sea) red bean jelly made with kanten with a sansho leaves and a wee piece of candied ginger. there was a sliced strawberry hidden under the paper cup that held the jelly.

red bean jelly with ginger and shanso leaves on top that look like a flower

– bottom right (mountain) – veggie gyoza made with okara and spinach goma-ae

– bottom left  – rice with umeboshi

It’s in a gorgeous handmade maple box that’s been oiled with a cute Shako Club stamp on the bottom.

handmade maple bento box

Shako Club stamp

I sat down and Tazuko and I introduced ourselves to each other. There was also a translator who I didn’t introduce myself to until halfway through, which I feel was a bit rude of me. Tazuko talked a little bit about the process that they went through to make the bentos and then invited me to take the lid off and look. She explained the different ingredients and elements of this gorgeous lunch box. I was already familiar with the Japanese ingredients: okara (byproduct of making tofu), sansho leaves and kanten (agar agar).

Tazuko explaining the contents of the lunch box

She asked me if I liked Japanese food and I explained that I’m half Japanese and love Japanese food. I told her that karaage is my favourite and that I have really fond memories of the Japanese food that my Grandma used to make when we would visit each summer. Tazuko told me more about her history. She was born between Osaka and Nara in the mountains, and during the war their family fled their home to Yokohama.

She talked about the Japanese Canadian internment and the impact that WWII had on many Japanese and Japanese Canadian people. She talked about only having rice and umeboshi for lunch when she was a kid. I know how poor Japan was after the war and that for many people this is all they could afford, but hearing this truth from someone I had just met was really emotional for me. I was so touched about how much someone I had just met was sharing about their life with me, a complete stranger. I was also overcome with how lucky and privileged I am right now. I was blinking back tears then I really started crying, which didn’t seem to phase her or the translator. I forgot this cultural difference. In Japan it’s generally not seen as embarrassing to cry when you are extremely moved. In Canada I find that we don’t know what to do when people cry. We are generally uncomfortable with tears and “negative” emotions.

We chatted a bit more and I learned that she came to Canada 40 years ago and married a Nisei Japanese man. I was curious if she had kids but didn’t want to pry, so I didn’t ask.

We were asked to bring something small to gift back to the person we received the lunch box from. In my questionnaire I said that one of my hobbies is gardening. I ended up with a bunch of volunteer purple shiso plants in my community garden plot. I repotted one of these and brought one of the first cloves of garlic I had ever grown this past year. After all, who doesn’t like garlic? Also from living in Japan I know that gifts that can be consumed are often better. Tazuko and I chatted a bit about the connection between the umeboshi in the bento and the purple shies that I gave her—purple shiso is what gives umeboshi it’s colour.

We chatted a bit more. I took a few pictures of Tazuko and the bento she had made and then Cindy Mochizuki came by and said that Tazuko is her mom. Cindy is the artist responsible for this project and someone I’ve been getting to know better over the past year. It was awesome to find out that this amazing woman is her mom. If I had asked if she had kids earlier in the conversation I would have learned this.

I biked down to the seawall and enjoyed my lunch box and was reflecting on some relationships with work colleagues over the past month. I’ve delighted in a bunch of work relationships shifting to be more open and honest where other people have demonstrated courage in sharing stuff about themselves including: mental illness, learning disabilities, gender identity, sexuality, neurodiversity and personal insecurities that are incongruent with how I see them professionally. All of these people didn’t need to disclose these things about themselves but it made it easier for me to understand how they operate and gave me a glimpse of what they might be going through. To me these are acts of courage because they involve unpacking stigma and shame which is a revolutionary act that gives us all a little more room to breathe freely.

(Read the post on Tara Robertson’s blog).

Official Website | Shako Club
grunt gallery | Shako Club Serves Bento Box Lunches with Memories, Stories, and Gratitude

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Shako Club Serves Bento Box Lunches with Memories, Stories, and Gratitude

Shako Club Serves Bento Box Lunches with Memories, Stories, and Gratitude

For Immediate Release –

July 16, 2015 (Vancouver, BC) –  grunt gallery is excited to announce the roll-out for Shako Club’s bento boxes!

Since April, artist Cindy Mochizuki has been working with Japanese elders and membership through Tonari Gumi (Japanese Community Volunteers Association) to create a social setting for a project called Shako Club. This group meets weekly on Thursdays and socializes over recipes, stories, and concepts of wellness philosophies. Every weekly gathering is spent in the kitchen and studio space at Tonari Gumi as the members discuss a variety of themes and topics.

Jokes are shared, members help one another prepare meals, and ideas are explored for the creation of several themed bento boxes. These boxes are given to participants in Vancouver over a special three-week process in July. These culinary compositions follow a traditional Japanese bento box framework that incorporates three elements: Ocean, Land, and Mountain. Careful consideration is given to the selected ingredients, aesthetics, and cultural history.

Participants receiving the bento boxes filled out a unique questionnaire that included queries such as, “Name a Place You Would like to Travel to and Why?”; “Favourite Childhood Taste?”; “The Last Book you Read?”; and “Name One Wish for Yourself.” Shako Club members assigned participants to three separate themed lunches based on their answers.

On Thursday, July 9, twenty Vancouver participants attended the first bento box exchange. Members of Shako Club selected the individual participants for this particular lunch because their questionnaire answers were filled with tenderness, care, love, or nostalgic memories – the bento box theme was, “Romantic”. The lunch included watermelon lime jellies, onigiri comprised of green or purple shiso, ume and nori, cherry tomato roses, and star-shaped jellies and carrots. Each lunch exchange included a handwritten note from the Shako Club member who made their lunch for them on that day.

Participants were asked to bring a symbolic gift that reflected the spirit of reciprocity. Gifts included fruit pies, stones with healing properties, specially written poems, books, dried lavender, stationary, and other items that conveyed thanks for the thoughtful creation of their bento box lunch.

This Thursday, July 16, another bento box exchange occurred. Visit early next week for a new post that summarizes what transpired today! You can also follow grunt gallery on instagram or search for the hashtag #shakoclub.

Reflections from Shako Club members:

Shako Club taught me how to use your eyes to draw yourself into being interested in food or eating.  Sure there is taste, but it really was about how we use our eyes. How you can take the ordinary to make something new.”
 – Yoshiko Fukushima (translated into English) 

“Another thing that made a lasting impression on me was the time we spent together and that everyone shared the same feelings. I have so many great memories. Every Thursday I hold a lot of hope and I think, ‘What could we do at Shako Club today?’… My heart was excited.”
–Narumi Nakajo (translated into English) 

“I’m usually quite shy and not someone who can work in groups and so when I saw the title “Shako Club” (social club) I thought maybe it would be good for me. And since joining I made friends and learned a lot of recipes.”
– Fumiko Woloshyn (translated into English)


grunt gallery looks forward to the weeks to come and gives a special thanks to our collaborators,Tonari Gumi and the Asian Studies Society. Additionally, grunt gallery gratefully acknowledges Imagine B.C. and the City of Vancouver for making this project possible.

Visit for photos and more information on this exciting project.

Read more:

Shako Club: How a Box Lunch Made me Cry by Tara Robertson

An article and video on Shako Club by the Nikkei Voice:

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SHAKO CLUB | Bentos and Wellness

Screen shot 2015-06-15 at 2.24.25 PM


“Today in the Shako Club studio, we went through each of the 60 participant questionnaires. It was a marathon of a process – consisting of several broadsheets all over the table and me at times yelling out things … but we have gotten over the first hurdle of it.  Also today, we finally got our hands on the bento boxes that have just arrived from the wood carver, Minoru Yamamoto’s woodshop. Though he is still diligently making many more – we were were able to start the first batch of coating each of the boxes with a natural wax treatment. Something that is necessary that the maple box can withstand washing and the long term wear and tear…” [ read the entire blog post here].


“Cooking your soba noodles right…”

Tips on wellness.

About Shako Club | Visit

Shako club is a project initiated by grunt gallery working in collaboration with Tonari Gumi and the Asian Canadian Studies Society. Special thanks to Imagine BC for funding this project.

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New Project: Shako Club

Shako Club
Artist: Cindy Mochizuki
Residency Dates: May 1st – July 31st

Grunt gallery’s 30th anniversary programming continues with a new project by Vancouver-based artist Cindy Mochizuki.

Shako club (or social club) is a project initiated by grunt gallery and the artist, and created in collaboration with members of Tonari Gumi (Vancouver’s Japanese Community Volunteers Association), an association serving primarily Japanese Canadian seniors and new immigrants to Canada. With a signature investment in both collaborative and improvisational energies, Mochizuki will spend 3 months in residence at Tonari Gumi, working in their commercial kitchen to create recipes and culinary sculptures that acknowledge equally the influence of cultural background, history, taste, aesthetic value, and an abiding love of snacks.

Through an ongoing series of workshops and taste experiments, Mochizuki and Tonari Gumi members will craft interpretations of the bento box (a traditional Japanese meal set containing a selection of small dishes) that combine culinary and sculptural sensibilities with stories, memories and advice, selected with care.

Mochizuki will document the workshops and process through a series of drawings and recipes available online, and the work will culminate in the distribution of custom-made, edible bento “editions” to members of the public.

For more information on signing up for a bento, read here and fill out the questionnaire.
*Our participant list is now full, all new sign-ups will be placed on our waiting list in case of cancellations.*

Shako club is a project initiated by grunt gallery working in collaboration with Tonari Gumi and the Asian Canadian Studies Society. Special thanks to Imagine BC for funding this project.

Read a conversation with grunt gallery’s Curator of Community Engagement Vanessa Kwan and Cindy Mochizuki:


Follow this project, and read up on recipes and advice at

Screen shot 2015-06-11 at 1.22.04 PM

Japanese Translation:

About the Project: PressRelease Japanese | Fill out the questionnaire.

About the 30th Anniversary
Grunt gallery’s 30th anniversary year is about revisiting histories and acknowledging the unique mix of influences that have shaped us as an institution. The social life of our neighbourhood figures large, and this year we feature projects that extend into the community, and artists who work in and through the networks of relationships surrounding us. Previous projects have included Kitchen by Julia Feyrer, FutureLoss by Zoe Kreye, artist editions by Sonny Assu and Lorna Brown, and an ongoing series of events, publications, discussions and screenings.

Art is social. For more on grunt’s 30th anniversary, and the future, visit

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Mount Pleasant Urban Screen

grunt gallery is very excited to be programming content for a new non- commercial urban screen in Mount Pleasant! The urban screen is being constructed on the second floor of the RIZE building on the western side of Kingsway Avenue facing the street. Métis filmmaker, Amanda Strong, is our first artist to produce original work for the screen and there will be a series of community digital storytelling workshops through June for people to contribute to the launch in July 2018.

Pink Noise Pop Up
March – April 2018
A series of events that expands the relationship between the arts communities in Vancouver and Seoul, Pink Noise Pop Up seeks to highlight the ways that art interacts with the often complex social and economic conditions of the city. Based in the work of Canadian arts collective Instant Coffee, this exhibition includes installations, artist editions, performances and other collaborations that will take place in South Korea.

The Blue Cabin
We have a vision to save Al Neil and Carole Itter’s famous blue cabin – which was built in the 1930’s and sat for years as part of a squatter’s community on the Burrard Inlet North Shore – and a plan to convert it into an artist residency.

The Making of An Archive
Summer 2017 – Spring 2018
Jacqueline Hoàng Nguyễn’s project, The Making of an Archive, seeks to collect images of everyday life photographed by Canadian immigrants, in a direct, collective and exploratory approach.

Spark: Fireside Artist Talk Series
January 2016 – Present
A series of informal presentations hosted by the Native Education College (NEC) in partnership with grunt gallery.  These informal talks feature Indigenous artists whose work spans media from the two-dimensional to live performance and beyond.  Their works fuse traditional cultural knowledge with contemporary art forms, pose urgent political questions, and push the boundaries of how we think about art, history and culture more broadly.  Join us over the lunch hour to be inspired by these artists in the NEC’s longhouse!




Journey to Kaho’olawe
May 25 – 30, 2017
Journey to Kaho’olawe is an artist publication by Hans Winkler and T’uy’t-tanat Cease Wyss. The book is the result of a four year process centred on the Hawaiian Island of Kaho’olawe, a sacred site to the Hawaiians in recovery after being occupied as a practice range by the American military. Returned to the Hawaiians in the 1990s, the island is being remediated and returned to its natural state. In conjunction with the launch of the publication grunt gallery and the artists present a week long series of events celebrating Kaho’olawe and the Kanaka presence in BC.

Spring Fever: Vancouver Independent Archives 2017
March 18 – April 8, 2017
This spring season, Vancouver Independent Archives will offer a series of free public talks, screenings and community workshops that foreground local art and art history by drawing on the archives of Vancouver’s independent arts community. Building on the success of Vancouver Independent Archives Week 2015, Spring Fever invites new partner artists, scholars, and organizations to share their approach toward and practice within the archive.

What’s At Stake? Intertextual Indigenous Knowledges is an afternoon of talks, panels and a spoken word performance which examines knowledge, power, authority, and sovereignty in the construction of artistic practices. The event follows from Intertextual: Art in Dialogue, a roving reading group that was held at participating galleries over the last year.


Shako Club
A series of workshops in the Tonari Gumi kitchen and studio space around concepts of wellness, care and food where culinary “sculptures” were constructed, incorporating aspects of stories, ideas and wellness philosophies. By artist Cindy Mochizuki and members from Tonari Gumi.

Past and Presence: NEC Mural Project
The Native Education College and grunt gallery are partnering with Vancouver-based First Nations artists Corey Bulpitt, Sharifah Marsden and Jerry Whitehead to create a mural celebrating NEC’s 30 years in Mount Pleasant.

Cutting Copper: Indigenous Resurgent Practice
A collaborative project between grunt gallery and the Belkin Art Gallery, aiming to bring together a cross-disciplinary group of artists, curators, writers, educators, scholars, students, and activists to explore the embodied theory of Indigenous resurgence and cultural representation – both from the perspectives of their own disciplines and one another’s.


Terminus: Archives, Ephemera, and Electronic Art
This workshop was a part of the 2015 International Symposium on Electronic Art (ISEA).  Organized by the Ethnographic Terminalia Collective in collaboration with Tarah Hogue and Glenn Alteen.

Space, on Main Street and in Vancouver, is currency, and artist Zoe Kreye’s practice reaches through the overarching narratives of real estate, gentrification and speculation to consider the poetics of an individual’s connection to place.


MAINSTREETERS: Taking Advantage, 1972–1982
The history of a gang of Vancouver artists who lived and worked together in drama, excess, friendship and grief.

30th Anniversary
Thirty years is a long time.  A retrospective of all that is (and was) grunt gallery.

Play, Fall, Rest, Dance
The artist works with children with disabilities to emphasize the state of making and being, the pursuit of uninhibitied creative exploration that is void of rules, structures and concepts of ‘right or wrong’ and ‘perfection vs. mistakes’. Children are enabled with artistic autonomy and the artist thoughtfully guides them to explore their creative processes.  By artist Valerie Salez.

A youth engagement pilot program developed to bridge the creative work being done by youth in the popular online video game Minecraft and artistic inquiry at grunt gallery.


ThisPlace Vancouver
Rethinking ideas about Vancouver’s identity and history, this project attempted to compile a collaborative archive in order to expand the collective awareness of the city’s narratives.


Vancouver Art in the Sixties: Ruins in Process
A digital archive of artwork, ephemera, and film.


Nikamon Ohci Askiy (songs because of the land)
In December 2008, artist Cheryl L’Hirondelle made daily journeys throughout Vancouver and “sung” the landscape she encountered.

Beat Nation
Hip Hop as Indigenous culture.

The Medicine Project
Aboriginal notions of medicine and how they influence the lives of First Nations people and artists today.


First Vision
Two worlds – curated by Tania Willard.

2005 – 2009

Brunt Magazine
Showcasing the artists exhibited at grunt gallery, brunt magazine is a complement to the exhibitions and a closer look at the artists, their processes, and the ideas that inspire their work.




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