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Stunning work

With some friends on Saturday I visited the rennie museum to see a group exhibition of work by photographers Katy Grannan, Andres Serrano, and Larry Clark (their photographs left to right). It was a thrillingly moving experience for me.

This is the museum’s penultimate show, as Bob Rennie, who owns and who restored the 51 E. Pender building, the oldest in Vancouver’s Chinatown, announced last month that the building will soon be home to the first Chinese Canadian Museum in the country. I know the new incarnation will be marvellous, but I will make sure I get down to E. Pender to see this show again, and the last one, too (I don’t believe the artists have been announced for that one yet).

A note about the middle image above, Andres Serrano’s “Piss Christ.” You can see the damage to this photograph, which was attacked with hammers in Avignon, France, on Palm Sunday in 2011. Several other large photographs by Serrano in this exhibit had also been attacked in another previous showing, the cracked and smashed glass covered over by bright red tape.

Great photographs teach you how to see them. But not everyone is you.

‘Heroines Revisited’ review

Mala Rai’s review of Lincoln Clarkes‘ “Heroines Revisited” gets the important things exactly right.

For the people that loved her, whether she is missing, deceased, or transformed, these pages are a sensitive keepsake. As half the women photographed may be closely connected to [or even have been among] are murdered and missing indigenous women, these pictures may be the sole glimpse into a family member or friend’s troubled time. How can the surroundings be so dire, yet every woman in that instance is utterly stunning? They are in terribly vulnerable places, yet invoke the persona of tough-as-nails heroine: Your sister riding a 10 speed, smoking a cigarette, clad in page boy at and a crop top. Your former high school friend at St. Paul’s hospital, perched in a confident, yogi pose upon her bed. The woman who’d become your mother, about to inject, focused on her syringe, but 13 pages later, impeccably put together, she is confidently staring right back at you. A tender Mother’s Day sisterhood collective. Perhaps their arrival at that destination in life was a shock. Maybe it was expected. It isn’t profound sadness or pain that I see in each frame, but the significance of these women in our society. They likely had no idea that their images in the finished product would comprise a collection of artful history. The pictures make us hunger for more details of each person’s personal history, but there are no crumbs to spare.

Sweet sea

Morning walk restored my mood.

Lincoln Clarkes

Anvil Press just published Heroines Revisited, by Lincoln Clarkes. Looking at this series of photographs will always be an overwhelming experience for me.

The photograph below was part of the original photographic exhibition in 1998 at Vancouver’s Helen Pitt Gallery.

Here’s an interview I did with Lincoln for my old ezine Ellavon, in which many of the Heroines photographs first appeared.