The Richmond Art Gallery hosted Tea and Tour on June 3, a free walkabout of two art installations at Canada Line stations and a gallery exhibit.
The tour, led by curatorial assistant Maria Filipina Palad, allowed attendees to learn more about this year’s public artworks for Capture, a Metro Vancouver, lens-based art festival.
Palad curated the Canada Line installations, which focused on feelings of isolation and confinement during COVID-19.
“I feel like if we see works that are close to that situation we have just experienced together, [then] these artworks become kind of an anchor towards, at the very least, hope that we can get past this or we have gotten past this,” she says.
The tour began at Aberdeen station, where Mexican-born artist Faune Ybarra’s installation, Iceberg Stranded in My Bed, is displayed.
The piece is a collection of four photos Ybarra took of herself dancing on a mattress on her bedroom floor. She covered herself with her white bed sheet and projected the image of an iceberg from scientist Robert Edwards Holloway’s 1905 book Through Newfoundland with the Camera on the wall.
“At the time, I was very interested in [the] power dynamics of who gets to document time, [and] who gets to document this province of what we now know as Newfoundland and Labrador,” Ybarra says.
“I really like to place myself just right next to [Holloway] and sort of question my own role in making photographs and documenting places.”
Ybarra completed her art residency at the Eastern Edge Gallery in St. John’s virtually from her home in Vancouver, which made her feel stranded and stuck, like an iceberg.
This piece was originally a video performance, but she took photos for Capture using a better camera and projector.
“I just really like the idea [of the installation] being in a space where people happen to encounter [it]. It’s just more like a fortuitous encounter with the artwork, and I am very honoured,” Ybarra says.
Afterwards, Palad and the group walked to Lansdowne station to see Toronto-based artist Jaspal Birdi’s installation 11h02m, which is the time at which she took a photo of the blue sky with low-hanging clouds, the view from her window during quarantine.
To make the piece, she printed the photo using a printer with missing toner, which she made work by changing its settings.
Birdi scanned and enlarged the copy and transferred it onto a yellow emergency blanket, which represents survival, the uncertainty of that time, and the possibilities of reimagining everyday objects.
Palad curated Birdi and Ybarra’s installations after following their work online.
The tour ended at the Richmond Art Gallery, where artists Amy Ching-Yan Lam and HaeAhn Woo Kwon’s exhibit a small but comfy house and maybe a dog is displayed.
The title is a line from Lam’s letter to her future self that she wrote when she was 11. By age 25, she thought she would be married, have a stable job, and own a home, but none of those predictions came true. The exhibit recreates a house following the feng shui design practice.
The tour ended with tea for the attendees.
“It is my hope that these tours provide ways [for people] to get to know the artwork in a bit more detail [and] greater depth,” Palad says.
“I feel like especially if they’re in spaces like train stations … we may feel the need to look at the didactic panel and learn more about it, but even then that’s not enough.”