Political art and the Cultural Olympiad

0 Posted by - January 25, 2010 - Blog, Public art, Visual art

The Olympics are coming to Vancouver in just three weeks and almost no one I know is super thrilled about it. For some, it’s the traffic, for others, it’s the feeling that the only way we’ve been told to help is to “go on Vacation,” “take time off work,” “go to work earlier or later than usual to reduce traffic,” or “don’t drive your car.” It could also be that the City of Vancouver passed a by-law which prohibits the distribution of handbills in designated Olympic zones or lanes, and requires the removal of graffiti or posters that cause a “disturbance… with the enjoyment of entertainment on city land.”

For years leading to the Olympics, we’ve been seeing this “enjoyment disturbing” graffiti all over the city. (I actually quite enjoy them.)

So far, my best friend is the only exception to the city wide Olympic hate-on. It could be that her aunt is Olympic gold medalist Nancy Greene, or it could be that she and her family are generally excitable about winter sports. Truth be told, there is going to be some amazing things happening in Vancouver. If you happen to be in town, there will be some free visual art to look forward to thanks to the Cultural Olympiad, which will be running from January 22 to March 21.

My personal picks?

A fire hydrant on Waterfront Road, at the north end of Main street.

A message on the new bike path outside the Athlete's Village, by the newly constructed 'Habitat Island'.

Ginger Goodwin Way
An exhibition in which visual artists “wrestle” with the contested histories of Albert Ginger Goodwin, a miner who in 1928 was killed by a police constable, leading to the first general strike in Canada’s history.

Jason de Haan: Life After Doomsday
Jason de Haan uses every day objects to offer coping strategies for a post-apocalyptic future.

Isabelle Hayeur: Fire with Fire
In the middle of Canada’s poorest neighbourhood, Isabelle Hayeur will illuminate the windows of a four-story building to connect the conditions of the neibhourhood today to its history.

See more about the Cultural Olympiad at CODE online.

Images by Amanda McCuaig. Top: Graffiti on a construction poster outside the Athlete’s Village.

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