‘this park of great care’ – thirstDays No. 07 | off-site

‘this park of great care’ – thirstDays No. 07 | off-site

love, intimacy and (com)passion, in a geopolitical context
A monthly series of video, film, performance and ceremony events
Project curator/artist-in-residence Jayce Salloum

Curated by Ali Lohan + Cecily Nicholson 

Featuring/works by
Alfie Harry, Audrey Siegl, Ayumi Goto, Bud Osborn, Juan Manuel Sepulveda + film participants, Natalie Knight, The Oppenheimer Park Ladies’ Tea Party with Eunice Macmillan + Cassandra Eastman, Sarah Godoy-White

At: Oppenheimer Park
488 Powell St, Downtown Eastside
Vancouver, BC

Our poetic love of the city links us necessarily to Oppenheimer Park. In “this park of great care” (1) we consider spatial scales for struggle of a neighbourhood through to and beyond the nation state. Dispossession, mass assembly, internment, harm reduction, institutionalization, displacement, sovereign presence are present threads in the Downtown Eastside Oppenheimer District. Heart of the low-income community for a reason, it is the only neighbourhood in Vancouver ostensibly protected against real estate development by city policy. This program reveals longstanding relationships of care and honours the many, women especially, who have entwined arts and social organizing at the park.

~ Ali Lohan and Cecily Nicholson

(1) a thousand crosses in oppenheimer park, Bud Osborn, 1997

Photo documentation

ALI LOHAN  has been involved in the production of community engaged art and cultural initiatives, including art forums, workshops, curatorial projects and exhibitions in the neighbourhood where she lives, the Downtown Eastside, since 2001. Ali’s practice celebrates resilience. It is involved in and informed by narratives of historically displaced communities.

CECILY NICHOLSON  lives New Westminster, she is the administrator of the artist-run centre Gallery Gachet and has worked since 2000 in the downtown eastside neighbourhood of Vancouver. She collaborates with the Joint Effort prison abolitionist group and is the author of Triage and From the Poplars, winner of the 2015 Dorothy Livesay prize for poetry.

thirstDays is a project conceived as the rain falls and covers us in a slick substance transduced from the skies, moist. How can this, how can we, contribute to the establishing of a momentum that may have once been here in waves or pieces but over time was squandered, and defeated, with the imposition of capital triumphantly declaring its colonial (un)consciousness in our enclave by the water. Surrounded by a possible serene beauty, grief and sadness, love and hate, what encounters do we inscribe into our psyches and into our beings, what can art do to fulfil a mandate of hope and agency. What can we contribute.

The project takes inspiration from the patterns of existence to look at the mechanisms which we are part of, and relate them to all we end up being, sharing, denying, repressing and preserving. We seek that which compels us: love, intimacy and (com)passion, explorations of the commons/(un)commons; empathy and subjectivities; nourishing sites and situations; modes of agency; and subjectivities of place.
We insist on diversity and threads of collaboration, strands of ‘collectivity’/affinity, emphasizing works that have a specificity of location with resonances/meanings for others within reach and beyond. There is a socio-psycho imperative here at this site – Vancouver – grounded in what is missing and manoeuvering the gaps while referencing the historic in the present(ness) – and of the moment – with the critical reimagining of the repressed and the projection of empathy and action. – Jayce Salloum

JAYCE SALLOUM, a grandson of Syrian immigrants from the Bekaa Valley (Lebanon) was born and raised on Sylix (Okanagan) territory in Kelowna, BC. His work has been exhibited in a wide array of venues, from the smallest unnamed storefronts in his dtes (downtown eastside) Vancouver neighbourhood to institutions such as the Musée du Louvre, Museum of Modern Art, Centre Georges Pompidou, National Gallery of Canada, Bienal De La Havana, Sharjah Biennial, Biennale of Sydney and the Rotterdam International Film Festival. Salloum is a recipient of the 2014 Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts.