New public art exhibit celebrates Canada’s 150th anniversary

University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University and the South Asian Canadian Histories Association (SACHA) has created a series of free, public exhibits called “Trauma, Memory and the Story of Canada” that runs Sept. 29 - Dec. 15. It is housed in Vancouver’s Market on Main Street. It explores how the intersections of art, migration and storytelling can facilitate coming to terms with difficult pasts.

“The show is part of a series of public art events that explore experiences of trauma as neglected and yet foundational parts of the story of Canada,” says curator Raghuvendra Rao. “The theme for Trauma, Memory and the Stories of Canada emerged out of a project on the theme of trauma based on my own experience of being in an earthquake and finding ways to ‘heal’ in the face of disability.”

The public art show features the work of Canadian artists Vikky Alexander, Sonny Assu, Jason Baerg, Sameer Farouq, and Hyung-Min Yoon; Indian artist Umesh Maddanahalli Shivanna; and rare archival photographs from private and public collections. Each artist engages with experiences of turbulent pasts that are a part - directly or indirectly - of the Canadian experience.

Artist Vikky Alexander's mural size photograph is displayed at the Frontier Cloth House building. Her display is inspired by ceiling-to-floor image of a backlit curtain made from brightly colored silk.

First Nation’s artist Sonny Assu's installation at All India Sweets engages with themes of borders and welcoming that re-imagine the shared histories of South Asians and Indigenous communities. Hyung-Min Yoon's 45 feet piece is based on research into the Komagata Maru episode, in particular the experiences of women whose lives were shifted dramatically in the new land.

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