Ladykiller the Maneater

Exhibition Title: Ladykiller the Maneater

Artist: Alison Bremner

Opening: March 16th, 7-9 PM

Exhibition Dates: March 16-April 29, 2023

In the exhibition Ladykiller the Maneater, Tlingit artist Alison Bremner brings forward the experiences of an imagined deity who has existed in a dream-state for a very long time—so long that no one is certain even of what she was the deity of anymore. The eel in Tlingit culture was considered too “lowly” a creature to eat and therefore largely ignored. But eventually, Ladykiller could not ignore the world of men, and was awoken from her subterranean slumber and emerged to traverse and experience this new world around her.

For Bremner, culture is not stagnant. Through contact and technological revolution, Tlingit culture is constantly adapting, observing and searching for its place in the world, just as any other. Ladykiller the Maneater is both a manifestation of trauma and a means of processing it; Bremner envisions her as loving and gentle in her most natural state but highly carnivorous when agitated. Bremner’s paintings demonstrate both the love and bite of the artist’s humour and her penchant to draw from all aspects of contemporary Indigenous identity without assigning much attention to the discourse of traditional vs contemporary. Bremner’s work is not exotic but lived in, felt and able to weave through the cacophony of abrupt awakenings and disruption.

This exhibition is curated by Whess Harman.

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

Image: Courtesy of the artist.

Three Way Mirror

Exhibition Title: Three Way Mirror

Artist: Daniel Barrow, Glenn Gear and Paige Gratland

Opening: December 1st 2022

Exhibition Dates: December 2nd 2022—January 21st 2023

As three Generation X storytellers with a shared affinity for queer reclamation strategies and decorative craft traditions, Daniel Barrow, Glenn Gear and Paige Gratland began collaborating in the summer of 2018 at the Intergenerational LGBT Residency at Gibraltar Point, Toronto Island. Expanding this connection, the artists came together at Eastern Edge in St John’s this past summer, where they engaged local community as a queer craft circle, exploring a skillsharing approach to creative exchange.

In a third iteration of their collaborative relationship, Barrow, Gear and Gratland will spend two weeks in the grunt space in advance of the exhibition opening, sharing practices and bringing together their work for Three Way Mirror. Shaped by the upheavals and isolation of the last 3 years, the artists will explore in situ the intimacy created when people work creatively together. It is a multi-faceted curiosity: the material intelligence of paper cutting, leather-work, weaving and beading–born in each of their practices through years of learning, intergenerational exchange and queer support networks–intersects with time-based storytelling, animation and documentary film. Woven throughout is a conversation with each other and the wider community, and Three Way Mirror finds in their shared sensibilities (and distinct practices) a space for queer craft legacies to be created, shared and have their stories told.

Daniel Barrow is a genderfluid, Montreal-based storyteller/artist who has employed parallel strategies in their approach to the tradition of paper dolls – inventing “narrative architectures” that grapple with the dollhouse/paper doll as an instrument of conventional heteronormative, gender binary instruction. Barrow’s queer miniatures can initially seem romantic, borderline-nostalgic and functionally somewhat straight-forward. Part of their working method, however, involves introducing narrative and pictorial elements to the domestic miniature object – transforming it into a sculptural ode to the decorative, the transfeminine, the beautiful, the miniaturized and the minor.

Glenn Gear is an interdisciplinary artist of Inuit and settler ancestry, born in Corner Brook Newfoundland and with ancestral ties to the homeland of Nunatsiavut, Northern Labrador. Gear has been working in hand-beaded objects and small shadow boxes, combining Inuit material practice with his own intimate processes and approaches, which convey latent queer realities in traditional patterns. Working in beadwork and sealskin, Gear has begun incorporating satin, lace, sequins and other signifiers of queer culture to embrace personal and cultural connections between land, people, and animals through research-based creation. His handcrafted beadwork and animated films incorporate layers of meaning derived from materials, collage, and craft techniques, seen through an Indigiqueer lens.

Paige Gratland is a visual artist and filmmaker. Her work is informed by social history and design, producing projects and objects that explore craft practices, intergenerational exchange and colour narratives. She learned to weave in 2019 at the Richmond Weavers and Spinners Guild (British Columbia) and is currently enrolled in the Master Weaver Program at Olds College (Alberta).

Image: Rose Garden Poem (detail) by Daniel Barrow, 2021. Courtesy of the artist.

Mullyanne Nîmito

Exhibition Title: Mullyanne Nîmito

Artist: Cheyenne Rain LeGrande

Opening: September 17th, 7pm

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

This solo exhibition by Cheyenne Rain LeGrande ᑭᒥᐊᐧᐣ , Mullyanne Nîmito, showcases several previous video performance works, as well as a new piece developed for this exhibition. LeGrande’s oeuvre 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.


Saturday September 17th at grunt gallery, 7-9pm: Exhibition opening.

Wednesday September 21st at Western Front, 7:30pm: Maskisin ᒪᐢᑭᓯᐣ and Rinse: An evening of performance with Cheyenne Rain LeGrande and Amrita Hepi.

Digital Content:

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

Click here to stream our creative access audio tour of the exhibition.

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.


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.

Download and Read the Exhibition Catalog:
Click here to access a PDF of the exhibition catalog.

Click here to access an alternative accessible text Google doc format of the catalog.

Click here to access an alternative accessible text PDF (OCR) format of the catalog.

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.


Exhibition Title: SuperNova

Artist: Rah

Opening: March 26th Artist Talk

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

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

Online artist talk: January 11th, 7:30pm PST.
This event will take place on Zoom, with auto-captions by 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 To join the event, click here. To access the event via phone, click here for info.


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.


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


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.

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