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Picturing the Downtown Eastside

30 April to 29 May 2005

Opening Reception: Friday 29 April 8 to 10 p.m.

Public Forum: Saturday 7 May 12 to 3 p.m.

desmedia tapings: Every Sunday in May 2 to 5 p.m.

112 West Hastings, Vancouver

Curated by Charo Neville

Six years after the Or Gallery presented its last exhibition in its Downtown Eastside location, 112 West Hastings will temporarily be re-opening its doors. During the month of May, the exhibition Picturing the Downtown Eastside will re-activate this historical building, once a hub for Vancouver’s art scene, which included artist run initiatives such as the Perel Gallery, Artspeak, the Kootenay School of Writing, the Or Gallery and artist studios. In the shadow of the Woodward’s building, this exhibition presents a unique view into the Downtown Eastside through a diverse combination of artists and projects.

The exhibition poses questions about the complexities of representing Vancouver’s most socially and economically challenged, yet also vibrant, neighbourhood. Its unlikely mixture of works and artistic strategies provide a platform for thinking about the Downtown Eastside and for looking at the roles that artists serve within it. The forum held during the exhibition will extend this dialogue to a larger participating public in Vancouver.

Picturing the Downtown Eastside displays photographic and video works, and alternative community-based projects. The exhibition presents work by Rita Beiks, Rebecca Belmore, Clint Burnham, Margot Leigh Butler, Stan Douglas, Arni Haraldsson, Sharon Kravitz, and Susan Stewart, all of whom have addressed the Downtown Eastside in their past work and community projects. The show also features work by resident Downtown Eastside painter, Paul St. Germain and graffiti artist Hermes. In addition, the desmedia collective are re-initiating their Downtown Eastside video archive project with a camera set up once a week in the gallery for people in the community to tell their stories, and share their poems and songs.

This exhibition is curated by Master of Arts candidate, Charo Neville, with support from the Vancouver Foundation, the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, the Alvin Balkind Fund for Curatorial Initiatives and the Art History, Visual Art and Art Theory Department, UBC.

desmedia (Downtown Eastside media) invites all residents of the Downtown Eastside to come and have their stories, conversations, poems, and songs taped for the desmedia archives and to keep a VHS copy of their contribution in return. desmedia will be in the gallery each Sunday in May from 2 to 5pm. Please join us!

On Mother’s Day, May 8th, desmedia extends a special invitation to all women who have raised are raising children in the community to come share their stories of motherhood.

For further information please contact: Jana Tyner at jana.tyner@ubc.ca,
tel: (604) 822-1389, or fax: (604) 822-6689