Lectures and Talks

Art Connects | Artist Talk: Jan Wade in conversation with Glenn Alteen

Thu Oct 21, 2021 | 4 PM

Vancouver Art Gallery

Jan Wade, Self Portrait, 2001, acrylic on board, Collection of Brad Gough and Gary Saulnier


Join artist Jan Wade in conversation with her long-time friend and community organizer Glenn Alteen to celebrate Jan Wade: Soul Power, the first solo exhibition by a Black female artist ever presented at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

Wade and Alteen will share stories about the Vancouver art scene in the 1980s and highlight Wade’s active participation in and contributions to the artist-run and DIY communities, both locally and on an international scale. This Art Connects will offer insight into how the past and present shape all aspects of Wade’s art making practice.

The talk will begin with a brief introduction to the exhibition with curator Siobhan McCracken Nixon.

This episode of Art Connects is being presented as part of UBC ARTIVISM: Queering the Self, produced by UBC Arts and Culture District 2021 festival Artistic Director/Producer Bianca Santana.


Glenn Alteen is a Vancouver-based curator, producer and writer and past Program Director of grunt gallery (1984-2020). He has worked extensively with performance art and was cofounder of LIVE Performance Biennial (1999, 2001, 2003, 2005). Alteen has published art criticism and cultural commentary for the past 40 years. His writing has been recently published in Other Places – Reflections on Media Art in Canada (MANO, 2019), Wordless (grunt, 2019) Unceded Territories (MOA, 2016). Alteen has been involved in archival projects as a producer of websites including: Beat Nation (grunt gallery, 2009), Ruins in Process -Vancouver Art in the 60’s (Belkin Gallery, UBC and grunt gallery, 2009), Activating The Archive (grunt gallery, 2011), Taking Advantage – The Mainstreeters (Presentation House and grunt gallery, 2014), and Wordless (grunt gallery, 2019). As a curator, Alteen has produced performances and exhibitions including: An Indian Act Shooting the Indian Act – Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun (grunt and Locus+, 1997-98), Ablakela – Dana Claxton (Western Front and grunt, 2001), Victorious – Rebecca Belmore (grunt, HIVE and National Arts Centre, 2006, 2007). In 2018, Alteen was awarded Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Art for Outstanding Contribution to Contemporary Practice.

Jan Wade was born in 1952 in Hamilton, Ontario, to a Black Canadian father with familial origins in the American South and a Canadian mother of European descent. Raised in a relatively segregated but close-knit Black community within the city, her formative years were heavily influenced by her local African Methodist Episcopal Church. She was also greatly influenced by Southern US Black culture and aesthetics from the perspectives of her paternal grandmother and great-grandmother. Wade studied at the Ontario College of Art and Design (1972–76). She moved to Vancouver in 1983 and became part of the underground art and music scene in the city, with its innovative performances, do-it-yourself art shows, anti-establishment ethos and spontaneous happenings. During this period, Wade began collaborating with musicians on poster designs and making hand-painted T-shirts, showcasing her interest in handmade aesthetics and alternative artistic subcultures. During this period Wade began her research into African diasporic spiritual practices and decided she wanted her art to reflect where she came from and who she is, commencing her unique artistic journey marked by self-sufficiency, empowerment, hope and radical joy. The artist produces a wide range of mixed-media works made entirely from found objects and recycled materials.


Presented by:

Jane Irwin and Ross Hill

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