Mullyanne Nîmito

Exhibition Title: Mullyanne Nîmito

Artist: Cheyenne Rain LeGrande

Opening: September 17th, 7pm

Exhibition Dates: September 17th-October 29th, 2022

grunt gallery is thrilled to present Cheyenne Rain LeGrande’s ᑭᒥᐊᐧᐣ solo exhibition, Mullyanne Nîmito. This exhibition showcases several previous video performance works, as well as a new piece developed for this exhibition. LeGrande’s auteur presents striking, difficult-to-resist-for-the-‘Gram moments but is held tightly with her love for the hybrid space between both traditional and contemporary Indigenous culture. In this exhibition, LeGrande brings together language, pull tabs and the transference of familial craft knowledges to deliver visceral performances across grief and into reclamation. Striking somewhere between fashion glam and land-based practices, LeGrande, a recent alumni of ECUAD, returns to the coast in high-style, ever sick and standing always at least three-inches taller in her signature platforms.

ᑭᒥᐊᐧᐣ
Cheyenne Rain LeGrande ᑭᒥᐊᐧᐣ is a Nehiyaw Isko artist, from Bigstone Cree Nation. She currently resides in Amiskwaciy Waskahikan also known as Edmonton, Alberta. Cheyenne graduated from Emily Carr University with her BFA in Visual Arts in 2019. Her work often explores history, knowledge and traditional practices. Through the use of her body and language, she speaks to the past, present and future. Cheyenne’s work is rooted in the strength to feel, express and heal. Bringing her ancestors with her, she moves through installation, photography, video, sound, and performance art.

This exhibition is curated by Whess Harman.

Image: Grieving with the Land (still) by Cheyenne Rain LeGrande, 2021. Courtesy of the artist.

Terremoto

Exhibition Title: Terremoto

Artist: Michelle Campos Castillo

Opening: July 8th, 6-9pm

Exhibition Dates: July 9th-August 13th, 2022

On October 10th 1986, a magnitude 7.5 earthquake struck El Savador’s capital city of San Salvador. It was a defining moment in a decade of unrest: 6 years into a civil war that would continue on through the early nineties, the earthquake added devastating punctuation to an already fractured political and cultural landscape.

The ground shifted, and out of reach of falling debris, a hammock swung.

Terremoto is an exhibition by Edmonton-based artist, designer and illustrator Michelle Campos Castillo. Based on her own memories of living through the 1986 earthquake, Castillo’s work combines graphic representation of childhood experiences—she was 3 years old at the time —with other forms of memory work: audio interviews, archival materials and video recordings of her mother, sisters and father. The exhibition evades the sharp edged, front page narrative of natural disaster, and softens instead into a body of work that encircles a moment in time with overlapping narratives of community care. The woven hammock—a Salvadoran staple— became a place of refuge for Castillo and her sisters, as they slept outside to avoid the danger of crumbling architectures. As a tool and a metaphor for survival, its intertwined supports mirror a community and a family structure whose dimension Castillo intimately explores.

Terremoto consists of site-specific wall pieces, installation, audio and video media works and a publication. Materials will be available in both Spanish and English. This is the artist’s first exhibition in Vancouver. Terremoto is curated by Vanessa Kwan.

Click here for a 360° virtual tour of the exhibition.

Click here for a creative access audio tour of the exhibition.

Michelle Campos Castillo is a Salvadoran visual artist living in Edmonton. She has been the recipient of  several public art commissions from the City of Edmonton, including Platanos, a set of three sculptures on permanent display at Belvedere Transit Centre, and is currently producing artwork for the LRT Valley Line in the west end of the city. A frequent collaborator with artist Vivek Shraya, she has provided art direction and photography for Vivek’s Trisha photo series, graphic design for her Lambda Literary Award-nominated book, What I Love About Being QUEER, and VS Books, the artist’s imprint with Arsenal Pulp Press.

Image: Terremoto by Michelle Campos Castillo. Photo by Dennis Ha.

An Insufficient Record: The photo-ethics of preserving Black Vancouver

Exhibition Title: An Insufficient Record: The photo-ethics of preserving Black Vancouver

Artist: Curated by Nya Lewis

Opening: Thursday May 19th, 7PM

Exhibition Dates: May 20th—June 18th, 2022

An Insufficient Record: The photo-ethics of preserving Black Vancouver, curated by Nya Lewis, theorizes the afterlife of the City of Vancouver photographic archive concerning the history of insufficient representation of Black Vancouverites and their lives in public space. A conduit for dialogical and collaborative collecting methodologies, the exhibit intervenes with the archive, outlining a curatorial approach that identifies, contextualizes, and makes accessible reflections of the multiplicity of Blackness in Vancouver. Re-presenting and re-positioning 17 gelatin mugshots acquired from the City of Vancouver archive, An Insufficient Record malleablizes the varying vital relationships between the image and its object of representation, assessing the photographic constructions of race, the politics of human rights, identity formations, national narratives, and cultural memory. Juxtaposed within a new and speculatively valuable resource, the mugshots are presented with 50 portraits of Black and African self-identifying people, taken with clear subject autonomy, assembled from official municipal and provincial holdings, public arts and culture organizations, as well as special collections.

Challenging the insufficient depository of knowledge contributing to the historical trajectory of restricting representations of Blackness to caricature, ethnographic object, or criminal, the exhibit takes on a kind of cultural translation, examining the possibilities and structural limitations of transforming penal spectatorship to a participatory re-shaping and reading of the carceral images. An Insufficient Record exposes the strategic erasure of nuanced Black representation which enables the City of Vancouver’s insufficient fonds to exist without question or complication, speculating the role of curation and documentation in supporting collective movements beyond the public archive, visualizing and reinforcing Black personal, political, and social presence. The curatorial space making gesture imagines a system of photographic presentation and organization that engages Black Vancouver communities in the re-representation of their histories and responds to the demand to participate in national discourses of belonging, both to Canada’s past and present, readdressing historiographical challenges and their impact on archival record.

Click here to access a PDF of the exhibition catalog.

Click here to access a 360° virtual tour of the exhibition.

Click here to access a curatorial audio tour of the exhibition, written and narrated by Nya Lewis.

Public Events:

  • Opening and Curator’s Talk: Thursday May 19, 6pm.
  • Nya Lewis in Conversation with Photographer david george: Friday May 27, 7pm.

Nya Lewis’ hybrid interdisciplinary practice is a culmination of centuries of African resistance, love, questions, actions, study and embrace rooted in the theorization of the conditions of Black cultural production. The artist sees her practice as a continuation of a long lineage of work undertaken by Black artists, curators, writers, activists and thinkers who blaze(d) a trail of critical discourse surrounding the Black experience. Lewis’ creative practice reflects upon the diversity of Black diasporic experiences and its many forms of expression. As such, she works across the disciplines of art making, curating and writing. Her work is multivalent in form and expression but is always driven by the reimagining and reclaiming of community.

Lewis is currently; an MFA candidate at OCAD University (2022 graduate), a freelance critic and lecturer published with the Polygon Gallery, Dunlop Gallery, Capture, Femme Art Review and Canadian Art. She is the Year-round Programmer at the Vancouver Queer Film Festival, Guest programmer at the Vancouver International Film Festival, Curator in residence at grunt gallery, Research Assistant at the Center for the Study of Black Canadian Diaspora, Guest curator at UBC Museum of Anthropology, a board member of BLAC, Co-director of Ref. Gallery of African Descent, and AfroQueer Vancouver.

grunt gallery gratefully acknowledges exhibition support from the Hamber Foundation and the City of Vancouver Cultural Grants Program.

Image: From B.B.U.N.O. (Building Bridges Untitled Number One), flyer for Soul-Resurreccion Performance Series, April 1994, Pitt Gallery. Collection of david george.

SuperNova

Exhibition Title: SuperNova

Artist: Rah

Opening: March 26th Artist Talk

Exhibition Dates: March 26th—April 30th, 2022

SuperNova
by Rah
Curated by Vanessa Kwan & Whess Harman
March 26th—April 30th 2022, at grunt gallery
Artist Talk: March 26th at 2pm PST

Opening on March 26th, SuperNova is a multidisciplinary video installation informed by Rah’s experience as a Canadian-Iranian exilic and diasporic artist. Featuring a series of characters that she has performed as over several years including Fatimeh, Oreo and Coco, these carefully conceived personas pointedly deconstruct ethnic and gender stereotypes. In SuperNova, the three fictional personas appear together for the first time as contestants on an American Idol-style galactic talent competition adjudicated by a panel of extraterrestrial judges—all portrayed by the artist. While parodying the tropes endemic to reality television, Rah’s characterizations are a pastiche of racialized stereotypes as well as a pointed critique of Western popular culture’s exoticization of the other; from the self-aggrandizing Oreo, to the questionable authenticity of Fatimeh, to the non-binary posthuman Coco who communicates through waacking, a hybrid dance style that emerged from queer and racialized communities in the 1970s. SuperNova will be redesigned as a futuristic screening room, accompanied by a light installation and a bespoke build that will take grunt’s visitors on a Xenofuturist journey towards an unknowable future.

Click here for details on our low-sensory gallery visiting hours and specific sensory advisories related to this exhibition.

Click here for a creative access audio description tour of the exhibition.

And click here for the full transcript of the audio tour.

Rah is a video, net and performance artist. Rah’s work has been exhibited extensively both nationally and internationally at spaces including: Images Festival (Toronto), Museum London, Carleton University Art Gallery (Ottawa), Williams College Museum of Art (Williamstown, Massachusetts), Miami Art Basel, Nieuwe Vide (Haarlem, Netherlands), Pao Festival (Oslo, Norway), Kunst Am Spreeknie (Berlin, Germany), Kunsthaus Graz Museum (Graz, Austria), and Onassis Cultural Center (Athens, Greece). She has been the recipient of numerous awards including: Chalmers Arts Fellowship, finalist for Team Canada in Digital Arts,  Conseil Des Arts et Des Lettres Du Quebec Research/Production grant for Digital Arts (2014) and Film (2015), and a SSHRC Canada Graduate Scholarship. She has been awarded several residencies including the Koumaria Residency (Greece, 2016), AX Gallery (Berlin 2016), MUU Galleria (Helsinki, 2015), Studio Das Weisse Haus (Vienna, 2014) and the Artslant Georgia Fee Residency (Paris). Rah is represented by Vtape, Canada’s leading artist-run distributor for video art.

 

Image: Rah, SuperNova. Installation view at grunt gallery, 2022. Photo by Dennis Ha.

Smokes, Sings Loud

Exhibition Title: Smokes, Sings Loud

Artist: Lori Blondeau and Michelle Sound

Opening: February 24th Artist Talk

Exhibition Dates: February 4th—March 12th, 2022

Smokes, Sings Loud
By Lori Blondeau and Michelle Sound
February 4th—March 12th, 2022
Curated by Dan Pon, Whess Harman and Vanessa Kwan
Artist Talk: February 24th, 6pm PST, online

Smokes, Sings Loud celebrates the wit, wisdom, and warmth of NDN Aunties through the work of Lori Blondeau (Cree/Saulteaux/Métis) and Michelle Sound (Cree and Métis), two artists whose work draws from and feeds back into deep and embodied community connection. Featuring Blondeau’s 1999 performance work Bleached, and Sound’s Deadly Aunties series from 2021, the exhibition looks across time and relations to make connections between the fierce, close care among kin with meaning in the wider world: that this love, in all its toughness, humour and tenderness, is also resistance.

Chosen family and ‘art aunties’ to so many, Blondeau and Sound make work that celebrates the matriarchs in their lives, a continuum of which they themselves are part of. Together they have done much to create possibilities and guide their communities,  keeping their kin out of the bad trouble—and nudging them into the good kind.  As a resistant (reluctant?) archetype, Auntie shows you the way from an early age, they teach you how to be tough as leather and soft as rabbit fur. When you think you know everything there is to know they put you in your place with a side-eye or a one-liner, and then they generously teach you more. In this spirit, Smokes, Sings Loud presents new and archival works that speak across generations, with razor-sharp wit and style to match.

Pairing a contemporary sculptural textile practice with performance from the grunt archive, the exhibition considers meaning in memory: how a piece of fabric, a pattern, a song, or a smell might evoke a story or a feeling with no beginning or end but that is no less telling for it. Blondeau’s Bleached reminisces on matrilineage, internalized racism, and nitpicking get-togethers with touching sentimentality and astringent humour. Sound’s Deadly Aunties series is a material homage to auntie’s closet: buckles, fringe, and big cat prints on fierce fits for a night out or a run to the gas station for smokes. Sharing space, these works invite one into the sphere of the bold domestic, and offer a chance to reflect on and pay respect to those who looked out for you. Here, struggle transforms, shines bright.

Click here for a 3D tour of the exhibition.

Click here for an audio description of the visuals in the exhibition.

Click here for the exhibition floorplan.

Michelle Sound is a Cree and Métis artist, educator and mother. She is a member of Wapsewsipi Swan River First Nation in Northern Alberta. Her mother is Cree from Kinuso, Alberta, Treaty 8 territory and her father’s family is Métis from the Buffalo Lake Métis settlement in central Alberta. She was born and raised on the unceded and ancestral home territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Simon Fraser University, School for the Contemporary Arts, and a Master of Applied Arts from Emily Carr University Art + Design. Michelle is currently an Indigenous Advisor at Douglas College and has taught workshops as a guest artist at the Richmond Art Gallery and the Contemporary Art Gallery.

She has exhibited her artwork in Moving Throughlines (Seymour Art Gallery) and Winter Pandemic (SoLA Contemporary Los Angeles). Public art pieces include a utility box art wrap for the City of Vancouver and a painted mural exhibition in Ottawa (2018) nākateyimisowin/Taking Care of Oneself, Curated by Joi Arcand. Michelle was a 2021 Salt Spring National Art Award Finalist and has upcoming exhibitions at the Art Gallery of St. Albert, Neutral Ground ARC (Regina) and Daphne Art Centre (Montréal).

Lori Blondeau is Cree/Saulteaux/Métis from Saskatchewan, Canada. Since the 1990s, Blondeau’s artistic practice in the fields of performance, photography and installation, along with her curatorial work and activities as co-founder and Executive Director of the Indigenous art collective TRIBE, has proved decisive to the ever-increasing centrality of Indigenous art and knowledge production in Canada. With her performances, which include Are You My Mother? (2000), Sisters (2002) and States of Grace (2007), and photographic work, including COSMOSQUAW (1996), Lonely Surfer Squaw (1997) and Asinîy Iskwew (2016), Blondeau’s practice both as a solo artist and in collaboration with fellow visual artists demonstrates a clarity of focus which is remarkable for its precision, humour and strength. Her photographic and installation work has been exhibited in group and solo exhibitions. Her performance pieces have been showcased at Nuit Blanche (Saskatoon and Winnipeg), VIVO (Vancouver), the Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto) and the 2007 Venice Biennial. Blondeau has participated in panel discussions and given lectures at the AGO, the University of Saskatchewan (Saskatoon), the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (Santa Fe) and the 2020 Sydney Biennale. Since 2018, Blondeau is an Assistant Professor of Indigenous Art at the University of Manitoba School of Art. Blondeau was a recipient of the 2021 Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts.

Image: Michelle Sound, Deadly Aunties, 2021. Image by Dennis Ha.

A diffraction of past/stability and present/dynamism

Exhibition Title: A diffraction of past/stability and present/dynamism

Artist: Ben Bogart

Opening: Artist Talk on January 11th, 2022

Exhibition Dates: January 12th—22nd, 2022

Ben Bogart’s new work, A diffraction of past/stability and present/dynamism, was featured on the Mount Pleasant Community Art Screen from December 17th—26th, 2021. This complex long-form work will be presented as an installation in our gallery from January 13th—22nd, 2022, preceded by an online artist talk on January 11th. It will also once again be available to view on the MPCAS throughout the open studio dates. If you would like to book an appointment to view this work in the gallery, please contact communications@grunt.ca

Online artist talk: January 11th, 7:30pm PST.
This event will take place on Zoom, with auto-captions by otter.ai. We will have an external chat available in Discord, however the chat function in Zoom will also be on.

Click here for exhibition map and accessibility notes (OCR compatible).

A diffraction of past/stability and present/dynamism
By Ben Bogart

On the wet dark dreary days, do we relish in the greens and the smell of rain, or do we retreat into imagined days of warmer pasts? The built and natural worlds around us are constantly evolving and transforming. While attending to the changes from moment to moment can we see the boundary between this moment and our past or future? Are we even in the present, or are we immersed in our predictions and simulations, always using samples of the present to validate imagined pasts and futures? These are some of the questions that are asked through this work. “A diffraction of past/stability and present/dynamism” is a study of time and movement at the MPCAS. Source footage was shot from the MPCAS during the long days of summer capturing the dynamism and colour of the site. The footage archives a window in time, documenting the movement of plants, clouds and animate life as humans and non-humans go along with our routines.

The structure of the work is determined by an analysis of human / non-human and natural / artificial movements, resulting in a continuum of dynamism to stillness. Areas of stillness diffuse into soft gradients of colour that undulate over time; these gradients are demarcated by the strong edges and readability of areas of stillness. Augmenting this structure are the discontinuities of the present moment that interrupt the smoothness and consistency of the composition. Through this trace of the present the viewer may pick out the shape of cars and people moving through the frame, but this subtlety is overwhelmed by drastic changes in colour. The cloud-like fields that advance and retreat from frame to frame are determined by colour values of the present where the source is almost entirely veiled in abstraction. A taxi-cab entering the frame does not appear yellow, and yet washes the image in yellow. A cloud blowing over is barely noticeable, but saturates the image in teal. Through these waves of colour and luminosity the viewer may realize this bright summer ‘present’ is in fact another moment of the past; a sample of the summer collected by a machine and reconstructed as an imagined past and present.

Ben Bogart is a non-binary agender adisciplinary artist working for two decades with generative computational processes (including physical modelling, chaotic equations, feedback systems, evolutionary algorithms, computer vision and machine learning) and has been inspired by knowledge in the natural sciences (quantum physics and cognitive neuroscience) in the service of an epistemological inquiry. Ben has produced processes, artifacts, texts, images and performances that have been presented at galleries, art festivals and academic conferences in Canada, the United States of America, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Australia, Turkey, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Brazil, Hong Kong, Norway and Spain. Notable exhibitions include solo shows at the Canadian Embassy at Transmediale in 2017 and the TechLab at the Surrey Art Gallery in 2018. They have been an artist in residence at the Banff Centre (Canada), the New Forms Festival (Canada) and at Videotage (Hong Kong). Their research and practice have been funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the British Columbia Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts.

Click here to read our mini interview with Ben!

And click here to review our COVID-19 gallery protocols.

Project Fire Flower

Exhibition Title: Project Fire Flower

Artist: Collin van Uchelen with Carmen Papalia, curated by Whitney Mashburn

Opening: Online Artist Talk, December 2nd 2021

Exhibition Dates: October 2nd—December 12th, 2021

Immersively tactile, the Fire Flower exhibition serves as a window into the evolving research process of Collin van Uchelen. A clinical psychologist and fireworks enthusiast, van Uchelen has been developing tactile methods for translating fireworks for years, most notably presented as Fingerworks for Fireworks at Vancouver’s Celebration of Light.  After experiencing Fingerworks, socially engaged artist and community builder Carmen Papalia started a conversation with van Uchelen. Papalia has been exploring tactility in his practice for years, most recently through the Let’s Keep in Touch project, a collaboration with curator Whitney Mashburn. In what has become Project Fire Flower, Papalia and Mashburn teamed up, along with architect/designer Michael Lis and artist Lianne Zannier, to support van Uchelen in his pursuit of tactile translation of pyrotechnics.

van Uchelen describes the fully tactile exhibition as “an opportunity for visitors to see the light of fireworks through touch.” Reflective of van Uchelen and Papalia’s visit to a local botanical garden to touch flowers with shapes reminiscent of fireworks trajectories, visitors first encounter a tableau of faux flowers arranged in pyrotechnic industry racks and configured as a tiered fireworks display.  A table shares household objects which served as referential ready-mades, and the media room conveys documentary footage of the pyrotechnic industry from friends and colleagues of van Uchelen. The literal highlight of the show is comprised of nine tactile acrylic panels, carefully engraved and glowing with light, illuminating the paths of seven different fireworks shells. Visitors are invited to trace their fingers through the engravings, while listening to van Uchelen’s voice describe the respective pyro effects.

Rigorous and passionate, Van Uchelen’s efforts in Project Fire Flower educate others about the pyrotechnic arts and share his joy for fireworks, all while fueling his continuing pursuit of refining translations of these dynamic objects.

Please note that photography of the exhibition is not permitted.

Click here for a full written description of the Project Fire Flower exhibition and artworks by Collin van Uchelen.

Artist Talk, December 2nd, 5—6:30pm PST: Presented on Zoom with ASL interpretation and captions by otter.ai. To join the event, click here. To access the event via phone, click here for info.

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Project Fire Flower is a tactile and touchable exhibition, everyone is encouraged to interact with the elements of the show while adhering to the following protocols for the safety of all guests and staff:

  • Masks are required inside

  • Sanitize your hands upon entry (provided at the gallery)

  • If you feel sick (eg. cough, fever, sore throat) please stay home

We have implemented a strict cleaning schedule, including regular sanitizing of the panels, listening devices and headsets throughout each day, to keep the exhibition as safe and sanitary as possible for our visitors.

QR codes are available for those who prefer to listen to audio elements on their own device.

Note: Some elements of the exhibition cannot be sanitized (eg. plants). Please be sure to sanitize your hands before interacting with these.

Full details on our COVID-19 protocols can be found here.

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Collin van Uchelen, Ph.D., is a Conceptual Artist and Community Psychology consultant based in Vancouver, British Columbia. His artistic practice focuses on collaborative approaches for translating art into forms that are accessible with the non-visual senses. He originated the innovative “Fingerworks for Fireworks” tactile technique for describing pyrotechnical displays to viewers with sight-loss in collaboration with Steph Kirkland, Director of Vocal Eye Descriptive Arts Society in 2014. In this approach, trained describers translate the dynamic movement of fireworks by “drawing” their shapes with fingertips onto the backs of viewers who are blind or partially-sighted. Collin’s accessible “tools” for describing fireworks informed his subsequent work with All Bodies Dance Project on the creation of Translations, a contemporary dance piece designed for the non-visual senses. As Artistic Consultant, he helped co-create and refine the techniques for translating dance into accessible forms for audiences who were not using eyesight to “see” the performances. He also now consults with audio describers for art featuring movement – whether fireworks or dance.

Carmen Papalia is a nonvisual social practice artist with severe chronic and episodic pain. In 2021 he co-founded the Open Access Foundation for Arts & Culture (OAFAC), a pandemic-era cultural organization that aims to set a new cultural standard for accessibility by nurturing creative and justice-oriented accessibility practices. Since 2009 Papalia has used organizing strategies and improvisation to address his access to public space, the art institution and visual culture. As a convener, he establishes welcoming spaces where disabled, sick and chronically ill people can build capacity for care that they lack on account of governmental failure and medical ableism. His work, which takes forms ranging from collaborative performance to public intervention, is a response to the harms of the Medical Model of Disability, a framework that erases disability experience by reinforcing ableist concepts of normalcy.

Whitney Mashburn is a Boston-based independent curator and writer, whose work resides at the intersection of contemporary art and disability justice.  She lives with chronic environmental illness. Her current work includes Holding Space archive (2021-present), a burgeoning curatorial project which bears witness to the lived experiences of those marginalized by chronic illness, through interviews, art works, and manifestos; Let’s Keep in Touch (2016-present), a multi-phased, collaborative investigation of tactile aesthetics with social practice artist, Carmen Papalia; and collaborations with Minerva Projects and the My Dearest Friends Project (2020-21). She holds an M.A. in Critical and Curatorial Studies in Art, an M.A. in Disability Studies, and a B.A. in History of Art and Studio Art. Her current research is a testament to chronic and invisible illness, access as a ritual act of care, communal support, tactile aesthetics, social accessibility, disability activism in curating, meaningful inclusion, and the role of dialogue in social practice and institutional critique. Upcoming 2021-22 exhibitions are in London, Vancouver, Grand Rapids, and Boston.

Photo by Dennis Ha.

Black Gold

Exhibition Title: Black Gold

Artist: Tsēmā Igharas

Opening:

Exhibition Dates: January 22 - April 17, 2021

Tsēmā Igharas: Black Gold
Curated by Natasha Chaykowski

As more than 12,000 square kilometers of land—forests, grassy expanses, life—burned within the unceded territories now known as British Columbia, the east moving wind from the Pacific Ocean pushed the ensuing smoke across the Rockies, shrouding Alberta in darkness. As the smoke wafted eastward, millions of barrels of heavy crude were pumped westward: the movements of black gold.

Black Gold, a project by Tahltan artist Tsēmā Igharas, approaches mining practices and the indisputably thriving yet destructive extractive industries in the colonial states of British Columbia and Alberta, particularly within the context of Athabasca oil sands. This project takes for start the idea that mined substances are inherently connected to our bodies through a shared geological origin. The energy of a molecule is the energy of a person is the energy of a place is the energy of a moment.

In Summer 2018, Tsēmā investigated these tensions through site-specific research and a residency supported by Untitled Art Society, which allowed her to delve into how these issues are made manifest on Treaty 7 Territory and Treaty 8 Territory, in comparison to how mining industries exist culturally, historically, politically and economically in the unceded lands of the artist’s home territory, Tahltan First Nation in northwestern British Columbia.

Tsēmā Igharas is an interdisciplinary artist and a member of the Tahltan First Nation. She uses Potlatch methodology to create conceptual artwork and teachings influenced by her mentorship in Northwest Coast Formline Design at K’saan (2005/06), her studies in visual culture and time in the mountains. She has a Bachelor’s degree from Emily Carr University of Art and Design (2011) and graduated from the Interdisciplinary Master’s in Art, Media and Design program at OCADU showing her thesis work, “LAND|MINE” that connects materials to mine sites and bodies to the land. Tsēmā won the 2018 Emily Award for outstanding ECUAD alumni; is one of twenty-five 2020 Sobey Award winners; and has shown and performed across Canada and internationally in Mexico, USA, Sweden and Chile.
Natasha Chaykowski is a white settler writer and curator based on Treaty 7 Territory in Mohkinstsis (Calgary). Currently, she is Director of Untitled Art Society.

The exhibition floorplan can be found here as a PDF.

Accessibility Notes:
Video has ambient sound, no speaking (uncaptioned). Shimmering (poem) is written in English, using low contrast black letters on a black background. Work can be read online here.
grunt gallery is accessed from the sidewalk via a 106” long, 64” wide concrete ramp that rises 12”. The slope is 1 : 8.75. There are no rails on the ramp. The front entrance is a manually operated outward-swinging double door with a total width of 64”. Entry to the Media Lab behind the gallery space is via a 42” wide passage and entry to the neighbouring amenity space is through a manually operated outward swinging double door with a total width of 70”. No stairs, inclines, or elevators are necessary to access the public areas once inside the gallery.
grunt gallery has a single gender neutral washroom that is accessed via a 31” wide doorway with a sliding pocket door with a door handle that is 40” high. The toilet has a 10” clearance on the left side and a 21” clearance in front, with a support bar on the left side. The sink height is 34”. Please contact us at 604-875-9516 or email communications[at]grunt[dot]ca with any questions.

 

Image: Tsēmā Igharas, Black Gold, grunt gallery, 2021. Photo by Dennis Ha.

Cheap! Diligent! Faithful!

Exhibition Title: Cheap! Diligent! Faithful!

Artist: Marlene Yuen

Opening:

Exhibition Dates: September 25 — December 12th, 2020

Marlene Yuen: Cheap! Diligent! Faithful!

Vancouver-based printmaker Marlene Yuen’s explorations of Chinese Canadian labour histories have through the years taken the form of intricately produced print and paper-based media. Through ‘zines, comics, lovingly crafted artists books and – new for this exhibition – site-specific artworks, Yuen’s body of work comes off the pages and onto the walls. In precise and attentive craftsmanship, Yuen brings dimension to both the known and the overlooked histories of immigrant labour. Drawing from oral histories and archival research inspired by Yuen’s own family history, Cheap! Diligent! Faithful! acknowledges the complexities of labour and immigration in this country – and lifts up the small, remarkable details of lived experience.

The exhibition includes the launch of Yuen’s new publication that explores the graphic and cultural history of Ho Sun Hing Printers which closed in 2014, after 106 years of business in Vancouver’s Chinatown.

Artist Interview and Virtual Exhibition Tour here.

A Conversation Between Curators Whess Harman & Vanessa Kwan (PDF).

Yuen’s works available to view online:

Ho Sun Hing Printers, letterpress and risograph book, 2020.

Public Lunch, large comic panels, 2017.

Sam Chong Laundry, large comic panels, 2017.

Jean Lumb: Entrepreneur, Activist & Mother, large comic panels, 2017.

Cheng Foo, accordion book, 2017.

Mary Ko Bong, accordion book, 2017.

Artist Bio:
Marlene Yuen is a Vancouver-based artist who received her Bachelor’s of Studio Arts in 1998 from the University of British Columbia. Marlene has exhibited at galleries, artist-run centres, and cultural events in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Belgium and Japan. Although she is a multidisciplinary artist, her current focus is on handmade books; her artist books have been retained in special collections nationally and internationally.

Currently, Marlene is focusing her subject matters on Chinese Canadian labour history and preservation of Vancouver’s historic Chinatown. Her newest artist book explores Vancouver Chinatown’s last print shop, Ho Sun Hing Printers.

Accessibility Information:
grunt gallery is accessed from the sidewalk via a 106” long, 64” wide concrete ramp that rises 12”. The slope is 1 : 8.75. There are no rails on the ramp. The front entrance is a manually operated outward-swinging double door with a total width of 64”. Entry to the Media Lab behind the gallery space is via a 42” wide passage and entry to the neighbouring amenity space is through a manually operated outward swinging double door with a total width of 70”. No stairs, inclines, or elevators are necessary to access the public areas once inside the gallery.

grunt gallery has a single gender neutral washroom that is accessed via a 31” wide doorway with a sliding pocket door with a door handle that is 40” high. The toilet has a 10” clearance on the left side and a 21” clearance in front, with a support bar on the left side. The sink height is 34”.

Click here for exhibition floor plan.

Photo: Dennis Ha, 2020.

Call for Submissions – Mount Pleasant Community Art Screen

Exhibition Title: Call for Submissions – Mount Pleasant Community Art Screen

Artist:

Opening:

Exhibition Dates: Deadline July 31st, 2020

MPCAS CALL for SUBMISSIONS

We accept submissions on an ongoing basis.
To be considered for the Fall/ Winter 2020 program, submissions must be received by July 31st, 2020 at 4pm.
Submissions received after this date will be considered at a later time.

Background:
The MPCAS is a 7×4 metre outdoor community and media arts LED screen, located on unceded Coast Salish territories at Kingsway and Broadway in Mount Pleasant. Broadcasting from 9am to 10pm most days, it is programmed by grunt gallery, an artist-run centre that has been in the neighbourhood since 1984. For more information please visit mpcas.ca

*please note the screen does not have audio capabilities, therefore all submitted content is currently limited to image and captioning only.

PLACE:
The current programming theme of the MPCAS is PLACE, which looks at a changing Mount Pleasant and Vancouver through works by artists, curators, and residents who live here or are connected to the area, exploring its past, current, and future vitality.

Mount Pleasant was one of Vancouver’s earliest neighborhoods, built along a large salmon and trout creek that ran from the swampy higher grounds down to the ocean — the same path as what is now Main Street. The area became a focus of colonial settlement in the mid-19th century and local Indigenous communities were forced out to make way for businesses that grew into a bustling destination neighbourhood. By 1910, business moved west with Shaughnessy becoming the preferred neighbourhood, and Mount Pleasant fell into economic decline for almost 100 years. With working-class roots, abundant rental housing, and transient tenants, it was the poorest neighbourhood outside of the Downtown Eastside. A community of immigrants, urban poor, and artists created the conditions from which much of Vancouver’s early modern cultural life grew.

Beginning in the 1990s, Mount Pleasant’s gentrification started to take hold, initially through the live/work studio condos that gradually began to appear in the area. In 2010, with the development in the Olympic Village area, aggressive upzoning began, and many residents were evicted from their long-held homes as rents doubled and tripled within a few years. Mount Pleasant’s gritty characteristics suddenly became its new selling points. Developer marketing highlighted its arts community and heritage buildings—although ironically both became early targets in the gentrification process. Mount Pleasant quickly transformed from one of Vancouver’s cheapest neighbourhoods to one of its most expensive, ground zero for the increasing unaffordability of the city.

The MPCAS engages with this complex and, at times, tense history of displacement, creativity, expansion and grit.

Participate:
Our vision is to provide an urban screen with content received from and responsive to its viewers, in contrast to the advertising/consumer paradigm that is the rule with most highly visible screens in a public space.

As we build a program that reflects, engages with and enriches the complex cultural history of Vancouver’s Mount Pleasant neighbourhood, our call for submissions welcomes contributions from artists, collectives, curators and other community members, organizations and community festivals. Topics could include (but are not limited to) identity, language, housing, city streets, food, neighbourhoods, landmarks, loss, memories, narratives of the past, and potential futures.

The racialized, immigrant and working class communities that have been the backbone of Mount Pleasant have also been disproportionately impacted by the economic swings and recent gentrification of the area. Without a doubt, the history of this unique neighbourhood is entwined with colonial legacies and systemic inequities, and we invite submissions that explore the idea of place from the angle of disPLACEment, too.

Generally speaking, submitted works should be ten minutes or less in length and could include (but are not limited to) still images, time-based media, animations, performance works, archival video, interactive pieces, GIFs, experimental video, event proposals, and curatorial/screening proposals.

How To Submit Your Work:
Please include the following information in your proposal :

  • Maximum one-page proposal describing your project, and how it relates to PLACE.
  • Supporting Documentation: Video submissions should be sent as a link to a host site (Youtube, Vimeo, etc). You may also send preview files via WeTransfer, Dropbox, or similar services if you prefer, please keep files to a maximum of 500MB.
  • Photography and image based submissions: 10-12 images. Image files should be no more than 1200 pixels wide.
  • Creator CV and a short biography.
  • Artist / Curator Statement (optional).

Please email proposals to submissions[at]grunt[dot]ca by July 31st at 4pm to be considered for Fall/Winter 2020 programming.

MPCAS Content and Technical Guidelines are available as a downloadable PDF

**Due to COVID-19, we will only be accepting digital submissions until further notice.

Become A Part of the MPCAS through our Digital Stories Workshops!
grunt gallery and EastVan Digital Stories join forces with Mount Pleasant and Vancouver residents who wish to create short videos around the theme of PLACE. Artists Lorna Boschman and Sebnem Ozpeta will host a series of free workshops that walk participants through the process of digital story making. Selected videos from the workshops will be shown on the MPCAS. For more information on EastVan Digital Stories please email lorna[at]digitalstories[dot]ca

Details on MPCAS programming and submissions can be found on our website mpcas.ca

Follow @gruntgallery and @MPCAS.Vancouver on Facebook for announcements and registration info for upcoming Fall and Winter workshops.

Image: Tomas Jirku, Unseen Urban Energy, still,  2019.

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