10 Vancouver-area art shows to feast your eyes on this summer

These 10 local exhibitions include work by a wide variety of artists from B.C. and farther afield.

Credit: Photo by Rob Harris. Courtesy the artist

Zadie Xa’s Child of Magohalmi and the Echoes of Creation is part of the group exhibition Interior Infinite, showing through September 5 at the Polygon Gallery

We like a little culture, too, you know. Spanning public art, retrospectives and contemporary group efforts, these exhibitions will keep you in galleries through the fall

With B.C. in Step 3 of its restart, it’s a great time to plan some culture into your summer. Whether you grab some friends or go solo, these local exhibitions include work by a wide variety of artists from B.C. and farther afield, providing some much-needed food for your soul after months of COVID restrictions. From drawings and photography to ceramics and public art, they inspire thought, creativity and conversation.

Audain Art Museum
Itee Pootoogook: Hymns to the Silence
Louie Palu: Distant Early Warning

Hymns to the Silence offers a glimpse of contemporary Inuit life and the landscape of Nunavut by the late Itee Pootoogook, a key member of the third generation of Inuit artists from Kinngait (Cape Dorset). Through some 60 coloured pencil and graphite drawings on display at the Whistler gallery, Pootoogook takes viewers on a journey into everyday life through his eyes, inspiring an intrigue similar to people-watching on a park bench.

Louie Palu: Distant Early Warning explores the political and environmental threats to the North American Arctic, through a collection of photographs by award-winning Canadian photographer Palu. Through September 6

Burnaby Art Gallery
Lyse Lemieux: Trespassers/Intrus

This survey focuses on how Vancouver-based interdisciplinary artist Lyse Lemieux engages with the human figure. Besides drawings in ink, paint and fabric, Trespassers/Intrus includes The Classroom, an installation of suspended school tunics made from glass. “Based on a formative memory and a dream-like experience from childhood, the work evokes the thrill of rebellion and the promise of transformation,” the host gallery notes.Through September 19; by appointment only 

In Muddled Mirage of Memories Escaping Encapsulation, Nicole Kelly Westman examines how light can influence the way we perceive, recall and assign meaning to memory. The exhibition’s three works, presented across the CAG’s façade windows, reference the photographic process for creating “ideal” images, the gallery explains. Through August 22


2015-18. Pigment print Image courtesy of the artist and Stephen Bulger Gallery. © Louie Palu. Louie Palu’s work was supported by funding from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, National Geographic Magazine and Pulitzer Center

Canadian Rangers from Resolute Bay and Arctic Bay train soldiers in Arctic survival at temperatures as low as –60 C at the Crystal City training site in Resolute Bay, Nunavut. This photograph is from Louie Palu: Distant Early Warning, at the Audain Art Museum

Contemporary Art Gallery
Archival – for Rosario Cooper and my 10-year-old self
Muddled Mirage of Memories Escaping Encapsulation

Archival, an installation by Christine Howard Sandoval, a Vancouver-based Obispeño Chumash and Hispanic artist, reflects the belief that photography and colonialism are inseparable. In other words, “taking” and archiving pictures of Indigenous Peoples has helped to perpetuate the violent extraction of their land, labour and resources. With that in mind, Sandoval has wrapped a downtown Canada Line Station in a collage consisting of archival documents and images, layered with schematic maps comparing Spanish Mission and ancient Indigenous architecture. Offsite at Yaletown-Roundhouse Station; through August 22

In Muddled Mirage of Memories Escaping Encapsulation, Nicole Kelly Westman examines how light can influence the way we perceive, recall and assign meaning to memory. The exhibition’s three works, presented across the CAG’s façade windows, reference the photographic process for creating “ideal” images, the gallery explains. Through August 22

Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery

Image Bank

Artist Vincent Trasov’s 1974 run for mayor of Vancouver as Mr. Peanut is one of the works explored in this nostalgic collection of films, photographs, drawings, collages and other material. Image Bank takes its name from an eight-year project launched by Trasov, Michael Morris and Gary Lee-Nova in 1970, when they were associated with local artist-run centre Intermedia. “The exhibition reflects on a period of optimism where artists envisioned a non-hierarchical alternative to the world of art galleries and museums, where images and ideas could be freely exchanged through the international postal system,” the Belkin says, arguing that their efforts presaged social media. Through August 22

Credit: Rachel Topham Photography

Image Bank shows at the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery through August 22

Museum of Anthropology

A Future for Memory

To mark the 10th anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake, or 3.11, Fuyubi Nakamura curates a MoA exhibition reminding us of the power of nature and asking how we deal with memory after dramatic changes to our physical surroundings. Works on display include the “Lost Homes” Scale Model Restoration Project—a pre-disaster diorama of the affected towns and villages—and Art and Life After the Great East Japan Earthquake, which shows photos of resilient flora and fauna that thrived after the crisis. Through September 5

Polygon Gallery

Interior Infinite

Interior Infinite is part of the Polygon series New Perspectives: Revealing diverse perspectives, untold stories and new voices in visual art. At a time when diversity is finally getting its due, assistant curator Justin Ramsey has assembled an exhibit that reflects individuality and tests the limits imposed by society. Emphasizing self-portraits, with a focus on costume and masquerade as a way to reveal rather than obscure identity, it challenges the belief that as humans, we are stagnant in our evolution. “Every single person is a work in progress, with the potential and courage to change and be changed,” Ramsey says. The several Canadian and international artists whose work encompasses photography, video, performance and sculpture. Through September 5

Credit: Courtesy of the artist

Installation photo of The Poetic Process by Glenn Lewis, whose ceramics appear in Imperfect Offerings at the Richmond Art Gallery through August 22

Richmond Art Gallery

Imperfect Offerings

With a nod to post-pandemic social gatherings and simple pleasures, these new and past works by B.C. ceramicists Jesse Birch, Naoko Fukumaru and Glenn Lewis embody function and beauty, the RAG notes. “As summer emerges, there is a renewed sense of optimism for things we’ve lost in the past year: shared meals, gatherings with friends and family, moments of human connection,” says gallery director Shaun Dacey. “This exhibition brings together objects that serve as conduits for intimate care and aesthetic play.” Through August 22

Credit: Credit: Ian Lefebvre, Vancouver Art Gallery

Whess Harman’s The Lowest Bar is part of Vancouver Special: Disorientations and Echo, exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery, showing through January 2, 2022.

Vancouver Art Gallery

Vancouver Special: Disorientations and Echo

The second instalment of a planned a series of exhibitions that the VAG says will take an expansive look at contemporary art in Greater Vancouver, this show features recent work from 32 local artists. Organized by five co-curators and spanning a range of media, scale and modes of presentation, it explores themes such as cultural resilience, articulating suppressed histories and imagining emancipated futures, according to the gallery. Through January 2


Courtesy of School District 35. Photo: Blaine Campbell

Red hawk, salmon and spindle whorl by Xwalacktun (Rick Harry) is one of the works in Balanced Forms: Xwalacktun, James Harry and Austin Harry, opening July 28 at the West Vancouver Art Museum

Vancouver Biennale


The Biennale’s two-year Re-IMAGE-n program was set to continue until 2020, but organizers literally had to reimagine it thanks to the pandemic, which prompted the cancelling of installations by 40 artists. Besides new public art, this year’s extension includes BIKEennale/WALKennale, consisting of 40 art-infused tours, with new instalments released each week. The tours, suitable for people of all abilities, cover public art and points of cultural, historical and architectural significance. Also ongoing: We Are Ocean Vancouver, which explores ocean literacy based on Indigenous knowledge and storytelling through online videos and accompanying activity guides.

West Vancouver Art Museum

Balanced Forms: Xwalacktun, James Harry and Austin Harry

Besides producing commissions, Coast Salish artist Xwalacktun (Rick Harry) has been a cultural instructor at schools throughout the Lower Mainland, where he’s created carvings with students who include his sons, James and Austin Harry. Xwalacktun regards that work as a learning opportunity that supports his efforts at reconciliation, according to the West Vancouver Art Museum. Balanced Forms includes a selection of such projects, plus materials showing the design process. July 28 through October 2