Exhibition: Ruptures in Arrival…, Surrey Art Gallery

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Ruptures in Arrival: Art in the Wake of the Komagata Maru

Please join us at the Surrey Art Gallery
Saturday, April 12

Talk with exhibiting artist Ali Kazimi: 6:30-7:30pm
Opening Reception: 7:30-9:30pm (Formal Remarks: 7:45pm)

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Marking the 100th anniversary of the Komagata Maru episode, Surrey Art Gallery’s group exhibition Ruptures in Arrival: Art in the Wake of the Komagata Maru brings together for the first time a cross-section of visual art related to this history, and presents these works alongside art that addresses more recent histories of mass migration from Asia to Canada’s West Coast. Ten artists from Canada and India contribute works – in a wide range of media including painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, 3D film, and installation art – that explore history’s relationship to memory, mass media’s affects on personal experience, the creative use of fact and fiction, and the visual narratives of transpacific mass migration. Over the course of the exhibition, events such as artist’s talks, film screenings, tours, Family Day, and a symposium make for a deeper connection to the artworks and the ideas behind them. This exhibition continues until June 15.

The Komagata Maru was a Japanese steamship that sailed to Vancouver in 1914, carrying 376 passengers from Punjab, India. Only 23 passengers were allowed to land, and following 2 months of detention in Vancouver’s harbour the ship was forced to return to India. The Komagata Maru episode has come to reflect a troubling moment in Canadian history when the federal government’s discriminatory immigration policies coincided with widespread racism among mainstream Canadian society. The episode had tragic consequences for many individuals. It has become an important locus for conversations on Canadian history, identity, and citizenship. The Ruptures in Arrival: Art in the Wake of the Komagata Maru exhibition reveals the frequently overlooked contribution to these conversations from contemporary Canadian and international visual artists.

Ruptures in Arrival: Art in the Wake of the Komagata Maru features a diverse set of imagery in a variety of media by artists Roy Arden, Avantika Bawa, Ali Kazimi, Evan Lee, Ken Lum, Mass Arrival (Farrah Miranda, Graciela Flores, Tings Chak, Vino Shanmuganathan, Nadia Saad), Raghavendra Rao, Haris Sheikh, Jarnail Singh, and Paul Wong.

Portland-based artist Avantika Bawa uses large-scale drawing and sculptural installation to reinterpret the original route of the Komagata Maru and its passengers’ journey from Asia to Canada and back again. Toronto filmmaker and new media artist Ali Kazimi has created a new immersive 3D film installation that presents a series of vignettes about everyday life for South Asian Canadians on shore during the time of the Komagata Maru’s detention in Vancouver’s harbour. Surrey-based artist Jarnail Singh will present the newest and largest in a series of paintings he has been working on about the Komagata Maru episode. Evan Lee, a Vancouver-based artist, has created a new set of inkjet prints using 3D digital modelling based on press photography from the arrival of two boats to Canada’s West Coast: the MV Ocean Lady from Sri Lanka in 2009, and the MV Sun Sea from China’s Fujian province in 1999.

Surrey Art Gallery gratefully acknowledges the financial assistance of City of Surrey, BC Arts Council, Canada Council for the Arts, Government of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage, and Vancouver Foundation.

About Komagata Maru 1914 – 2014: Generations, Geographies & Echoes
Ruptures in Arrival: Art in the Wake of the Komagata Maru is presented in partnership with Komagata Maru 1914 – 2014: Generations, Geographies & Echoes, a collaboration between eight organizations across Metro Vancouver that are presenting events and exhibitions related to the living legacies of the Komagata Maru episode. www.komagatamaru100.com

Also on Exhibit
Also on exhibit is BogScape, a sound art installation inspired by Burns Bog by Surrey-based media artist Matt Smith. BogScape is part of Open Sound 2014: Sonorous Kingdom, an exhibition about sound and vegetation.

Image: Raghavendra Rao, Visions of the living past 10, 2013, acrylic on canvas. Image courtesy of the artist.

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Established in 1975, Surrey Art
Gallery is a contemporary art museum
specializing in exhibitions and
education. Internationally recognized,
the Gallery showcases diverse artistic
practices – including digital and audio
art – by local, national and
international artists. Gallery
interpretive programs include talks,
symposia, demonstrations,
workshops and school programs, with
artists, educators and other
specialists. The Gallery offers courses
for all ages, and from introductory to
advanced levels. Since 2010, the
Gallery has showcased artworks at
Surrey Urban Screen, its satellite
venue in the City’s centre.