Vancouver Special: Disorientations and Echo

May 29, 2021 - January 3, 2022

Whess Harman
the lowest bar, 2021
text on vinyl banner
Courtesy of the Artist

Vancouver Special: Disorientations and Echo is the second in what is envisioned as a series of exhibitions intended to provide an expansive look at contemporary art in the Greater Vancouver region. For the 2021 version of Vancouver Special, primary emphasis is on recent works that hold a particular resonance for this time and place that have not been previously exhibited in Vancouver. The exhibition reflects the activity of both artists at an early point in their career and more established artists whose practices span several decades. Encompassing a variety of media, scale and modes of presentation, the artworks on display address themes that include cultural resilience, the articulation of suppressed histories, the imagining of emancipated futures, the performance of identity and embodied knowledge.


Vancouver Special: Disorientations and Echo is organized by five co-curators: artist, curator and cultural critic Phanuel Antwi; artist, University of British Columbia assistant professor and curator Jeneen Frei Njootli; independent curator and author Jenn Jackson; artist and independent curator Christian Vistan; and Audain Curator of British Columbia Art, Grant Arnold. The exhibition will feature work by artists Jim Adams, Afuwa, Simranpreet Anand, Lacie Burning, Charles Campbell, Patrick Cruz with Francis Cruz and Qian Cheng, Gabi Dao with John Brennan and Elisa Ferrari, Chief Janice George and ‘Buddy’ Willard Joseph, Simon Grefiel, Whess Harman, James Harry and Lauren Brevner, Odera Igbokwe, Kwiigay iiwaans, Chief Floyd Joseph, Katie Kozak, Yaimel López Zaldívar, Betty Mulat and Zam Zam Warsame of NuZi Collective, Oraf, Manuel Axel Strain, Valérie d. Walker, MV Williams, Lam Wong, Marika St. Rose Yeo and Kenneth Yuen.


Since its founding, the Vancouver Art Gallery has regularly organized group exhibitions representing the current activity of artists in the region. Building on this history, which began with the BC Annual exhibitions (1932–68) and continued with significant curatorial projects of recent decades, the Vancouver Special exhibitions will occur every three to five years with the intention of offering a sustained engagement with the diverse communities of contemporary artists who make Vancouver a dynamic centre of cultural production.


The first iteration of this series, Vancouver Special: Ambivalent Pleasures, was exhibited at the Vancouver Art Gallery from December 3, 2016 to April 16, 2017.


Follow the link below for a virtual tour of Vancouver Special: Disorientations and Echo. Please note that the platform does not accommodate audio, moving images or artworks installed on the exterior of the building.


Organized by the Vancouver Art Gallery and curated by Guest Curators Phanuel Antwi, Jeneen Frei Njootli, Jenn Jackson and Christian Vistan with Grant Arnold, Audain Curator of British Columbia Art

Major Sponsor:
Supporting Sponsors:

Phil Lind The Poseley Family Bruce Munro Wright Joanie Anderson

Media Partners: