Capture Photography Festival is well underway, which means that there are exhibitions aplenty, artist talks and tours to attend, and public art to explore – all to do with photography and lens-based art. The 9th annual festival, which runs from April 1-29, continually brings together artists and exhibitions that push the boundaries of photography.
Noticeable in this year’s festival is greater content curated by Capture, with a featured group exhibition, Family Album, curated by Capture’s Executive Director Emmy Lee Wall, special projects like Capture x Emily Carr (a year-long project between students and Capture), and a robust public art program featured on billboards, transit stations and the façade of the BC Hydro Dal Grauer Substation. Here are five shows not to be missed:
FAMILY ALBUM | Only a few days remain to see Family Album at Pendulum Gallery – a group exhibition with work by eight emerging and mid-career artists, curated by Capture’s Emmy Lee Wall. You won’t find traditional, posed, or embarrassing family photos here. The exhibition explores photography as it relates to the family unit through the work of Rydel Cerezo, Anique Jordan, Anna Kasko, Meryl McMaster, Cheryl Mukherji, Dainesha Nugent-Palache, Birthe Piontek, and Silvia Rosi. Each artist takes the social constructs of family and the definition of photography in unique directions, both conceptually and visually, to explore and investigate familial relations and personal and cultural histories. In the work of Vancouver-based Anna Kasko, the artist superimposes transparencies from found archival slides set in lightboxes. The layers of ordinary family photos — dating back to what looks like the 1950s — of a picnic, a barbecue, and a trip to Stanley Park, converge to create compelling new stories. Meryl McMaster presents three ghost-like portraits from her Ancestral (2008) series, which began as a way to learn more about her Indigenous family heritage. McMaster turned to historical photographs and paintings from the late 19th Century of Indigenous people across America, which we see projected onto the faces and torsos of the artist and her father. Join one last public tour of the exhibition led by Capture’s Assistant Curator of Engagement, Jas Lally, on April 13th, from 12:15-12:45 PM.
RABBIT LANE | Famed artist and writer, Douglas Coupland, has a photography exhibition on view at West Vancouver Museum based on his 1998 novel Girlfriend in a Coma. The book, set in 1978 and 1998, follows the lives of a group of friends from their teenage years into middle age. The main character, Karen McNeil, falls into a coma and awakens 17 years later. For the exhibition, Coupland has reconstructed scenes from the novel set in the Rabbit Lane neighbourhood in West Van, where Coupland spent much time while growing up. He highlights the Rancher houses in the area that were popular in the 1950s to 1970s, even staging a scene in a Rancher on the brink of being torn down, and describes the houses as the true star of the show. Register for a virtual artist talk with Coupland and curator Hilary Letwin, April 12th, 7-8PM, or join a guided tour of the exhibition here.
💚 | The colour green is a recurring motif in the work of Sara Gulamali, whose practice explores her identity as a Muslim woman of colour through the use of green screen technology. The exhibition 💚 features six photographs created during a residency at BAF earlier this year, depicting a figure cloaked in a bright green material. The backdrop in this recent selection of work, shot around the Lower Mainland, is the typical West Coast forest or a playground with mountains in view, reflecting Gulamali’s recent relocation to Vancouver. The photographs are slightly grainy in quality and framed, unexpectedly, in generic thin metallic chrome frames. Gulamali is a graduate of Central Saint Martins in London and is co-founder of Muslim Sisterhood, an artistic collective working across photography, film, media, fashion, publishing, and events to create a diverse community that is centred around Muslims. Tune in to IG Live @burrardarts on April 12th at 10AM for a virtual artist talk with Gulamali and BAF gallery manager, Andrea Valentine-Lewis.
STRANGER THAN FICTION | Over at Emily Carr University is an exhibition featuring the work of 17 emerging artists. Co-curated by Emmy Lee Wall along with assistant professor and artist, Birthe Piontek, the exhibition is the culmination of a year-long partnership between Capture and Emily Carr, in which photography students received mentorship from Wall and other art professionals. Standout works include three images from Leo Mah’s Bonsai series (2021) – living sculptures made of found materials, scavenged from around campus and the adjacent industrial area. Sand from the nearby construction site fill discarded containers, and fallen branches are artfully arranged. In Khim Hipol’s Anak ng Lupang Hinirang (Child of the Chosen Land) series, the artist uses the body and symbolic objects tied to Filipino national identity (like the Philippine flag draped over a standing figure’s head and bare torso, on view in the exhibition), a pañuelo (handkerchief), or a crown, to capture a profound and intense feeling of patriotism and nationalism. This is definitely the show to see to discover up-and-coming artists! Details and participating artists.
ERDEM TAŞDELEN | Upcoming at Richmond Art Gallery is A Minaret for the General’s Wife, a solo exhibition by Turkish-Canadian artist Erdem Taşdelen, co-curated by Julia Paoli and Toleen Touq. The exhibition centres around a little-known architectural oddity – a freestanding minaret from 1880, without a customary mosque at its base, located in Kėdainiai, Lithuania – which the artist first learned of from a Turkish travel blog. The exhibition comprises archival photographs, miscellaneous artifacts and objects, the audio of a call to prayer sung in Turkish, a video shot in a Kėdainiai park where the minaret is located, arranged to look like a rehearsal space in a theatre that invites the audience to participate. Learn more at an artist talk and the exhibition launch on April 23rd at 2PM.