Special Events

Art Exchange | Flags of Empowerment By Teens

Sun Nov 1 5:30 PM

Vancouver Art Gallery

Installation view of flags, created by teens as part of the Art Exchange program, a partnership with Arts Umbrella, and now on view in the interpretive area for The Tin Man Was a Dreamer: Allegories, Poetics and Performances of Power at Vancouver Art Gallery until November 1, 2020, Photo: Ian Lefebvre, Vancouver Art Gallery

Now on View In
3rd Floor Rotunda

Created by the 2019/20 Art Exchange
Youth Participants

Brands, like flags, are intended to be easily recognized at a distance, or among many other symbols, and to recall certain messages, qualities or powers. Like flags, we attach brands to ourselves both physically and digitally, on our clothes and as character or status references on social media profiles. The conflation of personal identity and brand identity is not dissimilar to the conflation of self with nationality, and, today, personal brands have become as important to individuals as to corporations and politicians—many of whom align or filter their identities through the imagery of popular musicians, artists, fashion labels and social campaigns on TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook, to name only a few.

As part of the Vancouver Art Gallery’s ongoing collaboration with Arts Umbrella, 13 youth participating in the 2019/20 Art Exchange program were asked to consider and respond to the question: “What is your brand, and who or what does it empower?”

Under the mentorship of artist-educators, Andre Seow and Fiona Mowatt, participants created their own symbols of personal power or empowerment, which were then printed on flags and installed in the Gallery’s 3rd Floor Rotunda as part of the interpretive area for the exhibition The Tin Man Was a Dreamer: Allegories, Poetics and Performances of Power, now on view until November 1, 2020.

Participating teen artists: Maide Akan, Ezra Avdevyev, Katherine Brand, Amy Chen, Stella Grynspan, Lucas Kosaq, Zachary Munday-Ritchie, Lucy Pan, Tana Rahim, Simon Tanglao, Mikaela Wong, Xin Yi Li and Ruobing Zhou



Art Exchange is a full-scholarship visual arts program for students ages 12 to 15 from across the Lower Mainland. Over eight months, students meet weekly to explore and unpack exhibitions at the Vancouver Art Gallery, and then respond to the artworks through reflective studio practice at Arts Umbrella.

This program offers a unique opportunity for teens to express and expand their creative practice working with a wide range of ideas and exhibitions. Full scholarships are provided to each student through the generous support of Terrence and Lisa Turner and Elmar and Christine Klukas.


Full scholarships provided by:

Terrence and Lisa Turner Elmar and Christine Klukas

Presented in partnership with: