Art Exhibition: Dislocation and Resilience

Sponsored by: 

This virtual art exhibition celebrates the vision and creative expression of people who are often pushed to the margins because of differences in physical or mental ability, poverty, mental illness, homelessness, addictions, or systemic racism.

The title, Dislocation and Resilience, stems from the lived experience of the artists and the themes present in their work. Many of the artists note that making art is a way for them to process their experience of the world, escape inner demons, restore a sense of self, heal towards resilience, and find joy through the act of creation.

Click on the names below to learn more about the inspiring artists in the exhibition and view thumbnails of their work (click on the images to expand). You can also view examples of artist-led community projects and art created in programs run by non-profit housing associations and social services agencies.

Interested in learning more or purchasing artwork? Contact the artists and programs through the links provided in the descriptions.

 

    Art Groups and Programs

  • Developmental Disabilities Association
  • My Artists Corner
  • Studio 73
  • Artist-led Projects

  • Keely O'Brien
  • Nika Vaughan - Kinsmen Lodge
  • Artists with Lived Experience

  • A J Brown
  • Dorothy Doherty
  • Edzy Edzed
  • Ilir Xhediku
  • Leef Evans
  • Nina Aldewood
  • Patricia Gaspar
  • Sandra Yuen

Developmental Disabilities Association

Wendy Cook ‘Dream Home’

Andrew Jackson ‘I heart Cats’

Lenny Law ‘Aliens In The Park’

Andrew Cathers ‘Green Dots’

Kevo (Kevin) Lee ‘Grey Fires’

ABOUT

DDA's art program is a blend of creativity, expression and inclusion, open to artists of all levels. Our program focuses entirely on what the artists are drawn to create. The adaptability and collaboration with the clients' interests are what helps to shape the program. All proceeds from sales go to the artists.

Wendy Cook is a visual artist based in Vancouver. "One day I was walking by the side of the road and I was hit by a car, now I am in a wheelchair. My life is different."

Wendy creates her art work on a small tray attached to her wheel chair. She is limited to a size that will fit on her chair. She dreams of painting large paintings. Wendy has taken part in many community art exhibits through the Developmental Disabilities Association and Kick Start Disability Arts and Culture.

Wendy explores the idea of "dream-resorts": dream homes and vacations spots where she can visit friends and family and join them. She creates expressive acrylic and/or ink paintings of wheelchair accessible vacation spots such as restaurants by a lake, with outdoor spaces where, unlike her actual reality, she can access, visit, and interact with others in this shared space.

Andrew Jackson is a Vancouver based visual artist. He became interested in art this past year. It began as a distraction and a way to think about something else besides Covid, during difficult, isolating times. His paintings explore a whimsical window into the madcap world of cats. Andrew creates and shares a quirky, upside-down world of fun and humour, using colour and pattern. Andrew hopes to have a cat of his own one day.

Andrew Cathers is a self-taught artist, 38, and born in Whistler, BC. He makes art on a regular basis to keep himself interested, to stay challenged creatively, and to keep busy. Primarily an observer, Andrew takes in the world around him and returns it to us in the form of detailed fields of intense colour and pattern. Seeing his work in person allows you to feel all that has gone into the creation of each piece.

"I paint things that you cannot see with the naked eye, an emotion, an idea, things you can sense or feel. I am inspired by the randomness of life and patterns that occur in nature. I am creating art as a response to ideas and perceptions of reality."

Kevin Lee (Kevo) was born with a chromosome disorder called Trisomy 18 and diagnosed as moderate to severely disabled. At the time, few infants with this syndrome survived beyond their first year. Kevin was still not able to make any sound at the age of 6. Being unable to express himself verbally in early years, he vented his frustration through inappropriate physical actions.

Today, Kevo finds his passion in music and art. He is able to channel his ideas and expressions through his artwork. There is vibrancy and energy behind all the paintings. The bright colours incorporated in his art reveal the boundless joy and simplicity in his innermost self. Kevo is very much loved and nurtured in his family.

Lenny Law is a Vancouver based visual artist.  He says "I am an ordinary person living independently day to day. I have experienced personally how easy it can be to lose housing. It was really hard. I am an outgoing guy, but I am shy. I like to work with my hands. Making art makes me happy. A friend encouraged me to try art. I really like painting and I can draw and paint very well.  I have people who love me and care about me. Art helps me focus and think about other things when life gets me down. I am a big sports fan and I have a great sense of humour."

CONTACT

Hailey Arthur Email: harthur@develop.bc.ca Phone: 604-322-0052

My Artist's Corner

Barb Wendzich 'Friendly Shadow'

Sheila Letwiniuk 'One Too Many'

Anonymous 'Heart of the City'

ABOUT

My Artist's Corner (MAC) provides an art program for adults living with mental health issues. We serve people residing in Burnaby and New Westminster. Our Vision is: ‘Make art. Be well.’ MAC artists meet 2 days/ week throughout the year and work in watercolour, acrylics, mixed media, and a range of drawing media.

Barb Wendzich: Friendly Shadow
I wanted to highlight three things in this picture: the homeless certainly need more help, it isn’t helpful to put them in jail; there are people that are homeless who don’t have drug problems; and finally, that the dog is a faithful friend for the homeless person.

Sheila Letwiniuk: One Too Many
It is suggested that war veterans make up a significant percentage of Canada's homeless population. Those who served in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other wars are estimated at 5,000 men and women. "That IS One Too Many!!!"

Veterans experience difficulties transitioning from military life to civilian life.  Many suffer from traumatic brain injuries, post traumatic stress from life threatening events, and extreme episodes of catatonia and terror. For our war veterans who bravely fought for freedom, it is a national disgrace for any one of them to be living on the streets. Acknowledging veterans on Remembrance Day is only a small part of the healing. War Veterans deserve to have a home and support from Canada.

CONTACT

Website: http://www.myartistscorner.ca
Email: society.at.mac@gmail.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Myartistscorner-944876138909290 Instagram: @myartistscorner

Studio 73

Studio Seventy-Three is a fused glass studio and gallery. The artists create beautiful, handcrafted, one of a kind fused glass that is both decorative and functional. They are also integral in the running of our business. The artists are engaged in all sales, networking, and marketing. While promoting awareness, access, participation and appreciation of the arts within community, they bring with them a new way of looking at our culture. They continue to give back to community by volunteering in things such as adopt a street or fundraising for the Surrey Women's Centre. Not only are these artists assisting to build and grow a more sustainable and enjoyable community, but they are also bridging the gap among community members- where everyone can be seen as truly valued citizens in an inclusive community.

As artists we believe that art is a universal language that stretches across all people. We are also people who receive support for a variety of reasons, including mental health. Our work relates to the themes of housing, homelessness, mental health, addictions, resilience and healing as we have all experienced one or more of these things in our own lives. Art is a wonderful way to express ourselves, relieve stress and build confidence.

ABOUT

Studio Seventy-Three, located in Surrey and supported by Community Living Society, is home to a group of artists who work with glass to create beautiful glassware, decorative pieces and wearable art. These glass artists are fully trained in using techniques of molding and fusing to bring their original designs to life.

CONTACT

Website: https://www.studioseventythree.ca

Keely O'Brien

Any Day Now is a site-responsive installation series which explores experiences of belonging and displacement, especially in circumstances of renoviction, development, and gentrification. This ongoing multidisciplinary piece uses drawing and printmaking to document some of the many homes in the Lower Mainland which are sitting empty, waiting to be torn down to make way for development. These houses range from derelict to just recently vacated. Some are unnerving, some charming, some still have children’s toys in the yard, potted plants on the porch, and curtains in the windows. All hold a mysterious magnetic draw. After each house is demolished, its drawing is transformed into a lantern and installed as a memorial on the vacant lot where the house sat, like a miniature, illuminated ghost of the now vanished home. The lantern installations are photographed, creating a growing archive and a record of a rapidly shifting urban landscape.

This project is part of a BC Arts Council Early Career Development mentorship program with artist Marina Szijarto.

ABOUT

Keely O'Brien (she/her) is an interdisciplinary artist based in Richmond, B.C. on the territories of the Xwməθkwəy̓ əm and hən̓ q̓ əmin̓ əm̓ speaking peoples. Her practice incorporates intricately crafted objects with immersive, innovative theatre creation. Devoted to a thoroughly handmade, DIY process, Keely’s work includes immersive installations, imaginative ephemera, and interactive experiences. As a community engaged arts facilitator and educator Keely creates collaborative artwork with community members and organizations. Site-responsive and engaged with questions of place, home, and belonging, Keely's work aims to celebrate the potential for creativity and community in the place and people around her. She holds a BFA in Theatre Performance from Simon Fraser University.

CONTACT

Website: http://www.keelyobrien.ca/
Instagram: @keely.rois.obrien

Nika Vaughan - Kinsmen Lodge

As you can imagine, life in long term care looks much different now than prior to the pandemic. It has been a long 19 months since Covid became a part of our daily reality. During this time art was one of the activities that could be safely practiced at a distance indoors. Art and projects like painting on recycled film canisters and our picnic tables became a focal point and kept minds and hands busy, with a vision towards beautifying the common area of the shared garden for the summer months.

Art in the Garden Project: During the Covid outbreak and our period of restricted visitation, we were given several large boxes of old film canisters to repurpose into art for the garden. Requiring many layers of paint and varnish, these became a focal point, and kept hands busy through many hours, culminating in magical pieces of art that twist and turn with the wind, adding life and colour to the garden. We have completed about 50 to date. Several are in the garden and some have been gifted back to the community.

Picnic Table Project: When the summer months arrived, changing restrictions allowed for time outdoors in small groups. We began a collaborative project of painting picnic tables which stay in the garden for use in warm weather. These tables represent the coming together of over 35 people, from beginning to end, each playing a role in creating a mosaic of colour and pattern to be enjoyed in the garden. The tables made their debut when we welcomed families to join us for an outdoor concert.

ABOUT

Kinsmen Lodge is a long term, complex care home, housing 157 Elders. We are a multicultural residence, and a learning centre that truly values community outreach and community involvement. We strive to create a warm, inclusive, home environment. Our Art /Art Therapy programming emphasises self-expression and connection through working and creating together. Elders have opportunities to create individual art work, as well as participate in a variety of ever-changing group projects which allow them to share strengths, ideas and the excitement of creating art. Showing the work gives honour to the artists, enhancing and enriching our environment.

CONTACT

Website: https://kinsmenlodge.ca/

A J Brown

I create my art as a way to stay sane in a world that makes no sense. Creating is my way to look beyond my problems. It is a way to uplift myself. Hopefully when other people see my art, they are also uplifted.

Creating is my way to express my soul-voice in a way to which others can hear and respond. When I create, it feels like something spiritual guides me. I need to continue on my spiritual path, and that is through expressing myself. Art connects me to my Spiritual Self. My art flows from my Spiritual Self.

Through my images, I can be heard. I believe this is my way to freedom, and spirituality. Most importantly, art is my way out of that well.

ABOUT

I am deaf. I have difficulty speaking and using sign language coherently because of a brain injury at birth. I use a portable device which speaks when I type out written English. I also use email and sign language interpreters to communicate.

I have different inspirations: a memory, a movie, an image, another piece of art, visions, words, myself, an event, and my cat! What will come out, I never know. My preferred subjects include, but not limited to: nature, magic, and my cat.

I am self-taught. I started to explore various arts in 1999, as a way to overcome personal fears. I work mostly with watercolour, ink, and use other media. From 2002 to 2004, I was involved with an art experience group, which enabled me to explore my creativity in a supportive environment with other Deaf women artists. This weekly group acted as a springboard to encourage me to take professional classes and to show my art publicly. I am currently attending Emily Carr University's Continuing Education for certificates in fine arts techniques, drawing and painting. I hold a Bachelor’s degree from Gallaudet University, the world’s only liberal arts university for the Deaf.

Since 2002, my work has been exhibited in several galleries, including: the CityScape Art Space, the Artists Helping Artists in Burnaby, a Deaf art show at the Vancouver Community College, the Harmony Arts Festival, the Roundhouse Community Centre and a gallery in Quebec City!

CONTACT

Website: http://handsandpurrs.ca/

Dorothy Doherty

A neighbourhood slated for gentrification. Once gone, where will the residents live?

Views of a back alley. Once gentrified, these alleys will be gone, along with the neighbourhoods they serve.

The back staircase of a tenement building slated for demolition.

A view from the north windows of an apartment building.

This image references an immigrant family living in an apartment block destined for demolition, and subsequent gentrification.

This image expresses my concern for the ravages of climate change, with a small window of hope for the future.

I am concerned with the effect humans have on the environment, to the extent that many forms of life no longer exist. My work straddles the line between abstraction and realism. It examines a variety of issues, including urban decay, global issues and the beauty of the world around us – whether in man-made structures or the natural landscape.

These images investigate the neighborhood where I was born. My memories are still strong from my first years in a 3-storey walk-up apartment near the corner of Vernon and Hastings Streets in Vancouver. There have been many changes to the landscape. The building is now a dark, ominous grey. An open staircase at the back of the building is now closed, sealed with a door to the sidewalk. Residential areas still exist, although the street now has many industrial buildings. These paintings present a sense of today’s urban landscape, and the threat of gentrification in an ever-changing city.

ABOUT

Dorothy Doherty received her formal art education from Vancouver School of Art (Emily Carr University of Art & Design) and Capilano University. She holds an MA in History in Art (University of Victoria, 1984-1993) and a PDP (Simon Fraser University, 1995). She supplements her formal education with courses and workshops in a variety of media. Dorothy exhibits regularly in group and solo shows. She lives in Burnaby, BC, paints at Portside Studios in Vancouver, and works with ceramics at the Shadbolt Art Centre in Burnaby, BC.

CONTACT

Website: dorothydoherty.net
Instagram: @dorothydohertyart

Edzy Edzed

In the beginning, I dreamed to be a fine artist while still training in graphic arts and the realm of commercial art. By then I had a nuanced background in most of the trades through a high school education that emphasized science, trades and technology. I thought that skill set might lead me to a novel artistic expression given enough time and knowledge even before I’d really started. In 1992, I completed this background with an BFA (Hons) degree from the University of Victoria.

During that time and since then, I focused on creating a style that gave expression to non-objectively gouged painted wooden panels, bearing in mind the history of artistic development. I studied the art world from the zero-point in painting to the pluralistic works of today referencing them in my own oeuvre.

My personal goal is exploring techniques and various aesthetics that can inspire others to see our universe in new and different ways!

ABOUT

Edzy Edzed graduated from UVic in 1992, with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Hons) degree and a commitment to lifelong learning in the field of visual fine arts. His main interest for more than thirty years was in analyzing western art painting through the filter of deconstruction as described by the French philosopher Jacques Derrida. Over the past few years, he has focused on a series of ink sketches on wood depicting scenes in the alleys of the DTES which deal with issues such as the despair of mental illness, addiction and homelessness. He has been living in Vancouver and working on his practice ever since then.

CONTACT

Email: edzy.edzed@gmail.com

Ilir Xhediku

Chaotic

Subliminal Cross

Rainy Day

Sunflowers

Distortion

Autumn

I am an abstract expressionist action painter from Vancouver, Canada. I have been painting for most of my life. This body of work relates to themes of mental health, resilience, and healing.

I identify as an outsider artist because I am mostly self-taught. Spiritually is essential in my painting since when applying the paint onto the canvas it is a very transcendental act throughout.

I paint because it elevates my senses and conscious. I go into the zone. My mediums are acrylics, oils, watercolours and pastels.

I have an ongoing commitment to making art because it keeps me well. Make art or be committed.

ABOUT

Ilirijan Xhediku is a self-taught artist but also a talented musician and stand-up comedian. He has played the electric and acoustic guitar for over thirty-five years, studying musicians throughout history. He has developed his own techniques and approaches to music and teaches others.

Ilirijan has performed stand-up comedy at various venues including Youtube. He has training with David Granier of Stand-Up for Mental Health. He has lived experience of mental illness, homelessness and accesses social services.

CONTACT

Email: ilir.xhediku66@gmail.com

Leef Evans

Astoria & Harris Paint

Barricades & Bollards

Cambie & Hastings no. 5

Cambie & Hastings no. 6

Granville St. Bridge no. 4

Sun Building & Parking Lot

My Art, such as it is, is perpetually informed by my short-comings. This isn’t revolutionary. For the most part, every artist (every one I’ve ever met) is producing work as a means of engaging that manic internal dialogue that demands that something be done. That need to address the small monsters that live in your chest and head and speak in noise and static. Everybody who creates something is constructing an umbrageous thesaurus. To communicate, sure! But, mostly, to understand the abrasive chatter that fills the head daily daily daily. Imagine speaking a language that you don’t understand; a barking, screeching interchange that communicates, almost exclusively, through context and volume.

My Art, such as it is, represents a measured decision to remain as calm as possible. I try to channel the language into passive and mundane imagery, format it into composition and colour. It is often blocked upside down to eradicate as much visual bias and expectation as possible (I would show them upside down, but this seems to piss people off). I am unabashedly pursuing a Beauty that is anathema to modern criticism. No matter. I’m not really an artist. I am a manufacturer, a maker of something that touches the noise and static in my chest and provides a scintilla of comprehension. A moment where it makes sense before the oblong, existential squawking drowns out the moment and begets the next something.

My Art, such as it is, is a longing to make a pleasing moment. I attempt to engage specific colours and compositions and block out something pleasant. My brush strokes are my only concession to the animal in my chest. When a painting works, it’s as a result of this conflict between the arbitrary moment and the furious application. When I’m painting with purpose, I often finish two or three works a week. And, when I have a finished piece, it’s thrown on a pile and hardly thought of again. The physical work, the act of painting, brush strokes and sundry scratches, represent the only real joy I’ve ever experienced.

ABOUT

I have suffered from a significant mental health ailment my entire adult life. It has perpetually dismantled all things of worth in my life. Relationships, work, schooling, family have all been compromised by disturbingly cyclical bouts of crippling depression. Seventeen years ago, I found myself released from hospital. I had lost my job, my apartment, and a good deal of my friendships. I was set adrift on the streets of Vancouver. I spent over a year bouncing between Stanley Park, underpasses, bridges and various shelters. Needless to say, my homeless state did not do much to alleviate my depression. When I finally managed to get into an SRO in the Winters Residence, I wasn’t much better. I had a Mental Health team, but their principal concern was trying to find the appropriate pharmaceutical regimen (something that has never really worked for me).

I wandered into The Living Room in the course of my therapy (I would like to praise and extol the virtues of the dedicated staff there. They were instrumental in my relative recovery). Someone at The Living Room directed me to the Art Room at the Coast Resource Centre. I have been there ever since.

I hadn’t painted since high school, but I was always a bit of an art wonk. So, when I started to paint, I always had an idea of what I wanted to strive toward. My first works were decidedly hideous. But I discovered that that didn’t matter. If a painting failed, I no longer worked it to death, but simply started another one or (and this is important) painted over it. “Good Enough!” became my mantra and provided relief outside the painting, itself. I have been working off that premise since.

CONTACT

Website: https://leefevans.carbonmade.com/
Email: evansleef@gmail.com

Nina Aldewood

Resilience

In Bloom

Hades Clashing

Dragons Nest

Purple Rain

My work reflects a certain kind of feeling of transformations and healing in life. Being a therapeutic tool for me, I use my art to connect with the world around me. The array of colors and the movement displays a sort of diversity and unique perspective on myself and abstract artwork. I try to put my emotion and express my inward feelings in my art for everyone to experience in their own way.

ABOUT

I work under the name New Angle Art and run an art business. I enjoy producing eye catching paintings for all. I love art and the deep connection it allows us to feel with the artwork and its audience. It’s on a different level. I think we get to feel this with one another. Art has a way of bringing people together as well. It's lovely and I am proud to be a part of it as an artist.

CONTACT

Facebook: @newangleart
Email: ninaaldewood@gmail.com 

Patricia Gaspar

To me art is the dance of the ink onto different materials, and fabrics. Enjoying what I discover playing that game is precious.

As a printmaker, I work with a variety of ways to express myself. Like many other artists in this field, I compose my work on a flat plane, using lines to divide the space for creating shapes, rhythms and suggestions.

Color is a major component of my vocabulary of deeper meaning.

ABOUT

I can describe myself as a freelance artist who has been doing art since a child. Painting all the walls of the house, and furniture, with whatever crayon I found in my path. My grandmother concluded that I would be an artist. Years later, I qualified as an Art teacher in Argentina.

After finishing my Fine Art school, I became a happy mother of two beautiful sons. Also, I completed a Bachelor of Journalism degree. My sons, art, and journalism are my life.

When I moved to Canada, I could experience a different art vision, which enriched my soul, but my roots are in each of my art creations. I kept in contact with the magic world of art doing art exhibitions, and printmaking in different places of Canada.

Sandra Yuen

The Beach Houses dissolve into the sand, symbolizing the disappearing city, the power of nature over manmade structures and environmentalism

Houses on Main Street

The orange sky could be a reference to brush fires in the interior of BC or the sunset

The play of shadows, chiaroscuro, cheerful colour accents contrasting an ominous mood. The gaps between buildings represent the gaps in society

My recent paintings of homes relate to the themes of inclusion, housing, mental health and the disintegration of community. These works are about anonymity, isolation and the lack of connection during the pandemic extending forward into the future. As a person with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, I create these works as a way to heal, build resilience and reduce stigma of mental illness. They are a response to the chaos and ominous qualities of society today as a person with lived experience of mental illness.

This series of house portraits of older East Vancouver homes that are void of people. They reflect the evolution of the city as older homes are being replaced by condominiums, mansions and higher density. Neighbourhoods are changing. In these paintings of houses built in the 50s and 60s, I document parts of Vancouver history and architecture that we are slowly losing.

Homes provide us with comfort and belonging but may also separate us from engagement.

In my artistic process, I take photos of these homes and transfer them with a ruler and pencil to canvas where I develop the chiaroscuro elements of light and shadow, depth, perspective and colour accents.

ABOUT

Sandra Yuen is a visual artist and author, residing in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. She has been a painter most of her life. Creativity is part of her recovery from mental illness. She has a Fine Arts Diploma from Langara College and a Bachelor of Arts in art history from the University of British Columbia. She received the Courage to Come Back Award and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for overcoming severe adversity and giving back to the community as an artist, writer and speaker on mental health issues.

CONTACT

Website: https://www.syuenartist.com/
Instagram: @syuenartist
Email: sandra.mackay94@gmail.com