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New public art going up around Vancouver tackles pandemic's impact

The first four of 23 are up
Romane Bladou's All That We Cannot Grasp is at the šxʷƛ̓exən Xwtl’a7shn Lightbox.

The first four of a planned 23 art pieces have gone up around Vancouver as part of the city's Platforms: We Are Here, Live program.

Pieces have been commissioned by the municipal government for placement around the city as a response to the pandemic.

"COVID-19 has magnified and deepened all of the social, health, and economic inequities of our society, and art-making is an important way to respond creatively to this moment," states the city online. "Platforms: We Are Here, Live commissioned 23 Vancouver-based and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) artists engaged in and grappling with the issues revealed by a still-unfolding global pandemic."

Over the next year art will be placed at seven locations around the city as part of the series. The first set of four are up now:

  • Tafui's Out of Many is on Vancouver Public Library Banners
  • Romane Bladou's All That We Cannot Grasp, is up at the šxʷƛexən Xwtl’a7shn Lightbox
  • Dona Nabata's Westside Palimpsest is presented on the billboard at Arbutus and 12th
    Scott Billings's between you and me; the gap that parts us today, will still have zero thickness tomorrow; between you and me is on the Vancouver City Centre Canada Line Station windows

The art tackles a variety of issues and concepts, from exploring the Asian experience in Canada to the social impacts of the pandemic's chaos as it ebbs and flows.

Depending on the site pieces will stay up for as short as a month and as long as a year.

Bios on the artists have been set up on the city's website.