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Gallery Exhibition / “How Water Remembers” by Laiwan
December 21, 2021 @ 12:00 pm – February 1, 2022 @ 5:00 pm PST
Dec 21st – Feb 1st, Massy Arts will host a new window installation by Vancouver-based interdisciplinary artist, writer and educator Laiwan.
In Phase 1 of “How Water Remembers”, the artist collaborates with Karlene Harvey, Yao Xiao, T’uy’tanat-Cease Wyss, Angela Danyluk, and Sean Cao in a project that explores the path of water and future rising sea levels, with a relation to cultural stories, and includes a socially engaged, site specific exploration through 2022 in Vancouver’s Chinatown, to build imagination and consciousness for a return of possible False Creek mudflat inhabitants to find home among us.
In the gallery’s window, Laiwan presents 4 large posters that introduce viewers to the exploratory piece.
The Massy Arts Gallery is located at 23 East Pender Street in Chinatown, Vancouver. The gallery is open Tuesday to Saturday, 12pm to 5pm.
To contact the gallery, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The image of 龍母 [Dragon Mother] is inspired by the background map “showing the areas, in dark blue, that are vulnerable to flooding due to a major storm (1:500 year storm) today, and areas in light blue that are vulnerable to flooding due to a major storm and 1 metre of sea level rise by 2100 without flood management measures in place” (quoted from Vancouver’s Changing Shoreline, City of Vancouver, 2018.)
“Up the stretch of False Creek, the man and monster drove their course, where a century hence great city bridges were to over-arch the waters”
— E. Pauline Johnson, 1861-1913
“You know, they straightened out the Mississippi River in places, to make room for houses and livable acreage. Occasionally the river floods these places. ‘Floods’ is the word they use, but in fact it is not flooding; it is remembering. Remembering where it used to be”
—Toni Morrison, 1931-2019
A speculative, process-based project, How Water Remembers includes socially engaged & site specific explorations in Vancouver’s Chinatown, imagining the possible False Creek mudflat inhabitants who will find home among us.
How Water Remembers includes an exploration into how biodiversity and cultural diversity remembers, a flow of a way of life, a return of ancestral worldviews, traditional knowledge and stewardships, training an agile consciousness.
We can highlight and daylight other ways of knowing that had once been invisible underground networks, in the same way underground streams are daylighted and recovered for fish, phytoplankton and numerous critters to once again find their way home.
Their arrival and return can be seen as embodying the role of future guardians led by the spectacular 龍母 [Dragon Mother].
My adaptation of the story of 龍母 [Dragon Mother] is presented in alliance with Sínulhḵay̓, the two headed sea serpent who tunnels the areas of Skwachays, legendary among the Skwx̱wú7mesh peoples. Gratitude to T’uy’tanat-Cease Wyss for sharing the story of Sínulhḵay̓.
PHASE 2 of “How Water Remembers” will be introduced in Chinatown in January 2022, sponsored by the Dr Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden, the Chinese Cultural Center, and Angela Danyluk with the Sustainability Group, City of Vancouver.
– Text by Laiwan
LAIWAN is an interdisciplinary artist, writer and educator with a wide-ranging practice based in poetics and philosophy. Born in Zimbabwe of Chinese parents, her family immigrated to Canada in 1977 to leave the war in Rhodesia. Her art training began at the Emily Carr College of Art & Design (1983), and she returned to academia to receive an MFA from Simon Fraser University School for Contemporary Arts (1999).
Recipient of numerous awards, including the 2021 Emily Award from Emily Carr University, recent Canada Council and BC Arts Council Awards, and the 2008 Vancouver Queer Media Artist Award, Laiwan has served on numerous arts juries, exhibits regularly, curates projects in Canada, the US, and Zimbabwe, is published in anthologies and journals, and is a cultural activist.
Laiwan has been investigating colonialism, with aim toward a decoloniality, since the late 1980s. She also has been exploring embodiment since 2000, through performativity, audio, music, improvisation, and varieties of media, along with bodily and emotional ways of knowing, so as to unravel and engage presence.
Recent public commissions have also enabled her to focus on issues of urban development, touching on poetic and philosophic themes related to current questions of environment and the built cityscape of Vancouver.
Click HERE to visit Laiwan’s website
Laiwan: Traces, Erasures, Resists / January 7 – April 10, 2022
At the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery at 1825 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z2
Click HERE to know more about the exhibition