The new photo-based exhibition will be on display at MOV from September 28, 2017 to February 18, 2018. The multi-media collection features 650 photographs of demonstrations, occupations, riots, blockades, and strikes from the early 1900s to the present day. Events like the race riots of 1907 to the recent Kinder Morgan protests. In addition, visitors will find large digital projections, short films, and animated sounds of protest rallies and choirs, inviting the public to engage with and think about the impact of grassroots activism in their lives and the times when the city showed up, stood up, and rallied for change, or exploded in anger.
“Images of street demonstrations are uniquely gripping and beautiful. They highlight the agency of people in challenging the status quo and effecting social change,” explains Viviane Gosselin, City on Edge Co-Curator and Director of Collections & Exhibitions at MOV. “Several events depicted in the exhibition remind us that laws and policies that we often overlook today are the result of citizens taking their concerns to the street.”
“The photographs reveal a wide range of social and political issues throughout Vancouver’s history,” adds Kate Bird, Co-Curator of City on Edge. “Some protests, especially those regarding affordable housing, urban development and heritage protection are hyper-local, while the peace and environmental movements reflect a more global activism. The powerful act of marching together with a shared purpose gives people a sense of community engagement with their city, province, country, and the world.”
Museum of Vancouver (MOV) is located at 1100 Chestnut St, at Vanier Park. City On Edge: A Century of Vancouver Activism runs September 28, 2017 until February 18, 2018. Permanent exhibits run continuously throughout the year.
After digging through their vaults, the Museum of Vancouver (MOV) is ready to unveil a new and “Unbelievable” exhibition. Unbelievable is a quirky new exhibition curated from the Museum’s own collections, on display at MOV June 24 – September 24, 2017.
Diving deep into the vaults of MOV, Unbelievable assembles iconic artifacts, storied replicas, and contested objects for an exploration of the role stories play in defining lives and communities – and what happens when we question the tales we’ve long relied upon. “Stories are how we create our community and nation. They are literally a matter of life and death, possessing the power to bring us together or tear us apart,” explained Gregory Dreicer, MOV’s Director of Curatorial and Engagement and the creative mind behind Unbelievable. “A shockingly diverse collection of objects will provoke laughter, nostalgia, and fear. What unifies them is not the physical objects themselves – but the contradictory and unbelievable stories that surround each of the treasures on display. We are taking people deep behind the scenes – in order to explore the creation of stories and how they define our past, present, and future.”
The first large Unbelievable object that visitors will encounter is the Thunderbird totem pole. It appeared in controversial filmmaker Edward Curtis’ 1906 work In the Land of the Head Hunters. The totem pole has since been replicated in fiberglass, as well as re-carved to stand in Stanley Park – but the original has been tucked away within MOV’s vaults. The pole’s complex histories lay the groundwork for an exploration of stories, symbols, and struggles that follow.
Unbelievable will also include a search for other contemporary ‘totems’, each with contrasting stories about a point in time in Vancouver. These include the original ‘R’ from Arbutus Street’s ‘The Ridge’ sign (a replica now adorns condos); a full-scale bronze-cast model of Stanley Park’s derivative Girl in a Wet Suit; and opposing and battling Quatchi costumes from the 2010 Olympic Winter Games – one an official costume, the other an anti-mascot built by protestors.
The artifacts will also illustrate the tangled threads of narrative around Vancouver’s relationship with First Nations communities. Pieces include a carving given to George Vancouver’s crew, a large mask of a bird depicting the European-brought disease of smallpox, and Pauline Johnson’s ‘Indigenous’ dress, a fantasy garment for a cultural celebrity with a vivid imagination.
Finally, more surprising items ask visitors to create their own stories about unique artifacts found within the MOV collection, such as a side table crafted from an elephant foot, a chair cobbled together from cattle horns, and favourite pieces of garbage salvaged by the City of Vancouver’s sanitation workers. This interactive component of the exhibition will encourage visitors to share their thoughts about how each object came to be, and then later present them with the opportunity to compare their narrative to MOV’s documentation of each artifact.
Inspiration for Unbelievable originated last fall in the wake of the American election, which highlighted an astonishing aspect of human nature: people reject facts that don’t fit their story, even if the information is true. MOV concluded an exhibition exploring the notion of truth – including the museum’s role as one of Canada’s most trusted institutions – could not be more timely or relevant. Essentially, lack of trust, the reach of the web, the crisis in journalism and democracy have sparked Dreicer to embark on a quest for stories to believe in. “We live in an age of information where alternative facts and absolute falsehoods have run rampant.” continued Dreicer, “In an era where nothing can be taken at face value, MOV wanted to create an exhibition that raises questions. With Unbelievable, we ultimately hope visitors will walk away awed by the power of story – with a different understanding and possibly skepticism – about the tales they encounter and the stories they tell themselves.”
Unbelievable run June 24 – September 24, 2017 at Museum of Vancouver at 1100 Chestnut Street.Visit museumofvancouver.ca for more information on Unbelievable and the rest of the exhibits at the MOV on now.
It’s time for that unofficial kick off to summer, the May Long, May two-four, Victoria Day, or whatever you like to call it, is upon us and maybe the clouds will clear to get out and enjoy the picks of the week!
Traces of Words : Art and Calligraphy from Asia is a new exhibit opening May 11th at Museum of Anthropology (MOA).
From Sumerian cuneiform inscriptions and Qu’ranic manuscripts, to Afghan graffiti and digital creations from Japan, Traces of Words: Arts and Calligraphy from Asia honours the special significance that written forms hold across many diverse cultures in Asia.
The multimedia exhibition will examine how artists have reinterpreted written words as visual expressions. Texts in many styles represent physical traces of time and space, evoking the ephemeral and eternal.
“All creatures leave traces of themselves as they move through life; but words, whether spoken, written, imagined, or visualized, are traces unique to humans,” explains Dr. Fuyubi Nakamura, MOA Curator, Asia. “Some words disappear, while others remain only in memory or leave physical traces as writing or text. These traces are the theme of the exhibition.In it we explore the powerful duality that emerges when the written word becomes a medium or canvas.”
The exhibition represents an enormous diversity of calligraphy, painting, digital and mixed media works.
Through paper, silk, clay, woodblock and digital projections, Traces of Words invites visitors to experience and sense the works, and gain an appreciation for the cultural significance of Asian writing beyond reading and writing.
Works on display within the Traces of Words exhibition come from across the continent; including Thailand, Afghanistan, Tibet, Japan and more.
Traces of Words: Art and Calligraphy from Asia at MOA runs May 11 to October 9, 2017. Visit moa.ubc.ca/traces for more information on the art and artists in the exhibition.
Based on the book Across The Top of The World by James Delgado, with the help of historic documents, photographs, and artifacts the show weaves a century of stories about the European Quest for the elusive Northwest Passage, a short cut trade route to the Orient, followed by Canada’s sovereignty over the Arctic and the historic discovery of John Frankin’s HMS Erebus by Parks Canada. Along the way, we learn of the human sacrifice, endurance and camaraderie the mariners endured in the quest.
Across The Top Of The World: The Quest For The Northwest Passage runs at the Vancouver Maritime Museum throughout the summer. Tickets are available online at vancouvermaritimemuseum.com
Last week, a very interesting and historic exhibit opened at Vancouver Maritime Museum,Invisible Threads: Life Saving Sugihara Visas and the Journey to Vancouver. The exhibit tells the history of thousands of Jewish refugees who fled Nazi occupied Europe and were able to escape to Japan as a result of Japanese vice-council to Lithuania, Chiune Sugihara. Going against the wishes of his bosses in Japan, Sugihara issued 4500 refugee visas, many personally handwritten, which allowed 6000 Jewish refugees transit to Japan and safety beyond. Those refugees, many of whom came on ships to Seattle and Vancouver, and their descendants have spread around the world and are now estimated to number 40,000 people who are alive as a direct result of Chiune Sugihara. At the opening of the exhibit, part of the 50th Anniversary celebrations of Vancouver – Yokohama sister city, many of the families of Sugihara Visa recipients were on hand to lend some personal meaning to the history of the exhibit and show how the Invisible Threads bind generations and people around the world.