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New exhibition at North Van's Polygon Gallery a timely celebration of self-expression

'Interior Infinite' is showing now until Sept. 5
A new exhibition in North Vancouver shows how costumes, masquerades and unique acts of self-expression can in fact be a strategy for revealing, rather than hiding, one’s identity.

Interior Infinite, featuring 17 international artists whose works span photography, video, performance and sculpture, is on now at the Polygon Gallery in Lower Lonsdale.

The exhibition employs humour, chaos and an overall carnivalesque sense of expression to showcase resistance to the status quo when it comes to race, gender, sexuality and identity, according to curator Justin Ramsey.

“It’s responding to our particular moment of social upheaval – in the pandemic as well as the inequity reckoning that has taken place over the past year – and thinking about the potential and capacity for change,” said Ramsey

The exhibition features a diverse array of works both new and old – from a series of self-portraits by French surrealist photographer Claude Cahun, a soundsuit and video display from acclaimed sculptor, dancer and performance artist Nick Cave, to a film, by Zadie Xa, that re-imagines Korea’s ancient shamanic tradition.

Tsimshian/Gitksan and Cree artist Skeena Reece has also debuted a new sculpture and photo piece which displays internet sensation and Star Wars phenomenon Baby Yoda on a cradleboard, a traditional protective baby carrier used by many Indigenous cultures. 

The piece is meant to highlight the way the little green character’s journey, which includes untold injustices and challenges, resonates with many First Nations people.

When curating the exhibition, Ramsey was inspired by the work of Russian philosopher Mikhail Bakhtin, who analyzed the power of folk traditions, carnival, and the grotesque as methods of subversion, often through humour.

“What I would hope for in this exhibition, and it’s sort of alluded to in its title, is that there’s such a depth and breadth within every person that’s really constrained by these ideas of conformity and normativity – this idea that there’s a certain way which we’re supposed to behave,” said Ramsey. “These are in fact very narrow constructions that exclude a lot of lived realities that people have.”

No appointments are required to view Interior Infinite.

The gallery is open for the public to view on Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m; Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Fridays through Sundays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Interior Infinite will be showing until Sept. 5.