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Public art adorns Canada Line stations

By Richmond Sentinel

Published 1:07 PDT, Fri April 30, 2021

Last Updated: 2:13 PDT, Wed May 12, 2021

Two unique photo-based artworks are displayed at Aberdeen and Lansdowne Canada Line stations as part of Capture Photography Festival. The installations are a partnership between Richmond Art Gallery and Richmond Public Art.

At Lansdowne Station, The Left Space by Brendan Fernandes uses historically significant patterns to tell stories of power, camouflage and resistance. Evoking a sense of urgency and emergency, “dazzle” patterns, which were painted on warships to confuse the enemy, are coupled with purple and magenta plaid, which at once symbolizes British colonial rule in Kenya, a warning to predators in the wild, and the flashing of police lights. Fernandes playfully wraps this symbolic print across Lansdowne Station. The gesture offers a moment to contemplate solidarity, resiliency, protection, and care during these trying times.

At Aberdeen Station, The Misfits by Chun Hua Catherine Dong utilizes digital techniques and photography to illustrate the rich symbolic value of Chinese textiles to explore issues of gender and culture. The phoenix and dragon are interconnected symbols in Chinese culture and are often used together to symbolize auspicious and blissful relations between husband and wife. In ancient Chinese history, the phoenix could be male or female. However, as the dragon became associated with Chinese emperors as an imperial symbol, the phoenix became exclusively associated with female identities.

Within this diptych installed at Aberdeen Station, Dong envisions the phoenix and the dragon not as opposites but as mirrors of each other. Adding her own twist to a traditional medium, the artist uses blue to return masculinity to the phoenix and plum blossoms to offer femininity to the dragon. By placing these symbols within the rainbow sea and mountain patterns, the artist suggests a contemporary perspective on Chinese tradition.

Each image is animated with augmented reality through a free app that can be downloaded on a mobile phone or tablet. Once the image and sound are activated, graphic elements begin to dance, paired with an ethereal score of traditional Chinese music. The art will be displayed through Sept. 1.

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