Absence in Remembrance; The Japanese Canadian Internment: Curated by CCST Candidate Kristine Olson

Friday June 17, 2016 - Saturday July 16, 2016

Graduating exibition by Critical and Curatorial Studies MA student Kristine Olson

Franc Gallery is pleased to present Absence in Remembrance: The Japanese Canadian Internment, a group exhibition featuring Canadian artists Lillian Michiko Blakey, Leslie Hossack, Emma Nishimura, and Cindy Mochizuki. The exhibition is curated by Kristine Olson, an MA Candidate in Critical and Curatorial Studies at the University of British Columbia.

June 17 – July 16, 2016
Opening reception: Thursday, June 16, 6-9 PM
Franc Gallery
1654 Franklin Street
Vancouver, British Columbia

Gallery hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday 12– 6 PM, and by appointment.
The gallery is closed on Sunday, Monday, and Thursday.

Absence in Remembrance centres on the remembrance and commemoration of the experience and legacy of the Japanese Canadian Internment, which began in British Columbia and unfolded across Canada during World War II. At a generational remove from the internment experience, each artist has come to know and “remember” the experience indirectly through different encounters and means, including oral testimonies, family photographs, novels, and archival research. Each work is both an act of remembering and form of remembrance that includes photography, painting, printmaking, and photo-based light and video installation. The range in medium speaks to the nuanced and disjunctive ways in which history is experienced, transmitted, and received; and, concomitantly, how it is remembered and recreated for transmission to future generations. Never fully formed in and of themselves, history and memory remain pliable concepts, particularly in relation to trauma.

Central to each work in this exhibition are fragments, voids, and absences. The Japanese Canadian internment — as a process of registration, dispossession, removal, and incarceration in Canada, and even deportation to Japan — is a history predicated on the absence, silence, and invisibility of Japanese Canadians imposed under the authority of the War Measures Act. In the works, pictorial elements provoke investigation of the absences and silences that continue to haunt the remembrance of the internment experience in the present and the implications for its transmission in the future.

In its new location on Franklin Street, Franc Gallery is situated near Powell Street where, in the Downtown Eastside, a prominent Japanese Canadian community lived prior to its forced removal in 1942. Once referred to as “Little Tokyo” and “Japan Town,” today Powell Street discloses little about its past. Exhibiting Absence in Remembrance near this historical neighborhood relocates the remembrance of the Japanese Canadian Internment closer to the spatial context in which it began to unfold in Vancouver and British Columbia. Paradoxically, the attempt to relocate and remember this history and its legacy in Vancouver illuminates what continues to be forgotten, hidden, and obscured. Issues of racism, forcible displacement and citizenship are still urgent and pertinent today, nearly seventy-five years after the internment.

Artist Talk: Cindy Mochizuki
Archives of After Images
Saturday, June 18
1-2 PM

This talk will focus on Mochizuki’s artistic practice that explores multi-media, photography, and memory work in public and private archives. Interested in methods of working with the after images of war and historical memory, Mochizuki will discuss how the production of the after image continues to live on and shape how family members remember experiences even after the traumatic events have ceased. Mochizuki will speak to her work Panorama Series I that explores the remembrance of the Japanese Canadian internment through a familial lens.

The exhibition is made possible with support from the Killy Foundation and the Audain Endowment for Curatorial Studies through the Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory in collaboration with the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery at the University of British Columbia.


Image credit:
Lillian Michiko Blakey, Reiko, Alberta, 1945, c. 2010 , acrylic on canvas, 36 x 48 in.
Collection of the Nikkei National Museum, Burnaby, BC