Vancouver International Centre for Contemporary Asian Art

Artist-In-Residence: Haruko Okano

Haruko Okano, installation view (partial) of Homing Pidgin (2006). Courtesy of the artist.

October 21 – December 14, 2019

Artist Haruko Okano‘s residency at Centre A, titled Homing Pidgin, introduces visitors to words and phrases she recovered from a hybrid trade language that was developed and spoken by early settlers during the late 1800s and early 1900s. Pidgin on the west coast incorporated snippets from Chinese, South Asian, French, and Chinook wau wau woven in with portmanteaus or Janglish (a fusion of Japanese and English). Through printed handouts and magnetic strips, along with a small table, chairs, and place settings symbolizing the meeting of two cultures, the viewers are encouraged to learn a little of a lost oral transition. This residency-installation offers an opportunity to experience the challenges of communicating when one is unfamiliar with another’s mother tongue.

Haruko Okano is a sansei (3rd generation) Japanese Canadian with over 30 years as a professional interdisciplinary artist. Signature characteristics of her practice are deep community engagement, collaborations in the arts and cultural activism. In 2000 she received the VIVA Award from the Doris and Jack Shadbolt Foundation in recognition of her artistic practice. She has extensive training in human rights, and anti-discrimination through the Justice Institute of BC, and the summer human rights college/University of Ottawa. She received her curatorial training through a two-year apprenticeship at the grunt gallery in Vancouver, BC.

Join us for the opening reception on Saturday, October 26, at 12 PM followed by the artist’s Ocean Flotilla workshop from 1 – 4 PM. Light refreshments will be provided.

Workshop: Ocean Flotilla
Free / By donation

Ocean Flotilla is the public participation component of a larger environmental art project started in 2011 by artist Haruko Okano. Ocean Flotilla invites the public’s help in making 1000 paper boats. The boats are made of unbleached kraft paper made water-resistant with Kakishibu, an organic multi-purpose medium from Japan. Each of the boats will be numbered inside so that participants will be able to track their boat’s journey by periodically checking the ocean flotilla BlogSpot. Because this workshop requires precise paper folding and waterproofing in 3 stages the participant age limit is 12 years or older. Younger children accompanied by an adult are welcome to contribute a message during the workshop or through the blog site (mentioned below). Space is limited and participation will be on a first come first serve basis. Visit for more information about a boat launch.

Accessibility: The gallery is wheelchair and walker accessible. If you have specific accessibility needs, please contact us at (604) 683-8326 or

Centre A is situated on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded Coast Salish territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh peoples. We honour, respect, and give thanks to our hosts.


Date: Thursday, October 24, 2019
Time: 7 – 10 PM | Doors 6:30 PM
Place: John Fluevog Shoes in Gastown – 65 Water St, Vancouver BC

Early Bird Tickets – $24 (only until Sept 28)

Regular Tickets – $30

The only thing better than a great party is knowing that you’re doing good while having fun. That’s why Centre A is once again partnering with John Fluevog Shoes to throw a Shoe Party in style!

Enjoy John Fluevog’s gorgeous Gastown space with some of the best company in town. Tickets include light nibbles, live art interventions, and a complimentary drink. We will also be launching a new line of limited edition t-shirts designed by internationally renowned Canadian artist Ed Pien!

  • 100% of the proceeds from ticket sales and cash bar will go directly towards Centre A’s 2020 programming.
  • 50% of every Fluevog sale will go back to the organization and help fund more innovative and thought-provoking exhibitions, performances, talks, screenings, events, and publications.

Early bird tickets are available for a limited time only, so be sure to get yours before September 28, 2019!

*Members Exclusive: Receive an additional $5 OFF your Shoe Party ticket with a current Centre A membership. Renew your membership or become a Centre A member today.

Film Screening: Stephanie Comilang and Club Ate

Club Ate (Justin Shoulder & Bhenji Ra), Ex Nilalang (episode 4) (still), 2017, 33:09 minutes. Courtesy of the artists.

Centre A is delighted to present a screening of films by Stephanie Comilang and Club Ate (Justin Shoulder & Bhenji Ra) on August 24, 2019, at 4:30 PM. United by placemaking and knowledge/story-sharing, the program explores collective identities and kinship in the diasporas, rendered through the lens of futuristic realities. This event is presented in partnership with Call Again, a multimedia art group based in Toronto, that produces, promotes and creates space for contemporary artistic practices on/in/from the Asian diasporas in Canada and beyond.

Curated by Henry Heng Lu

Doors: 4:30 PM

Screening: 5 PM

Admission: Free (members) | $5 (non-members)

Location: Centre A, 268 Keefer Street, 2nd Floor (Unit 205), Vancouver, BC V6A 1X5

Cash bar. Light refreshments will be provided. 


1. Club Ate (Justin Shoulder & Bhenji Ra), Ex Nilalang (episodes 1-4), 2015 – 2017, 33:09 minutes

Ex Nilalang is a body of work that uses myth as a form to explore the intersections of queer identities of the Filipino diaspora. The artists employ video as a means of telling collaborative stories – visualized as four moving portraits. Nilalang has a hybrid meaning ‘to create’ and also meaning ‘creature’. This emphasizes the nature of the work being both a transformation of existing mythologies and also the imagining of future folklore. 

The work is seeded from the artist’s queer ecology: the communities they work and play in and their families biological and chosen. These spaces, platforms and collaborations are where their stories are shared. This video cosmology is a way to represent these worlds in an alter plane. The stories are articulated in a collaboration of diverse practices: performance and craft narratives.  Part of the motivation of the work is to transform mythologies that were once used to demonize queer identities by colonial powers. In Balud the story of the Mananangaal (described as a hideous, scary woman capable of severing its upper torso and sprouting huge bat-like wings) is reimagined through the perspective of Jai Jai a performer from Tacloban. She embodies the maanangaal with a more complex identity rich with pathos with a skin sparkling with queer sensibility. She sings local waray song ‘Balud’ mourning for the loss of the other part of her body: a song of sadness but also of resistance. In Encounters with eerie inhumans we witness yearnings, complexities and utopias that resist forces of surveillance and demolition. It is no coincidence that the creatures we have been taught to hate are racialized and gendered. Yet these same creatures teach us how to reformulate kinship in ethical, non-violent ways.

2. Stephanie Comilang, Lumapit Sa Akin, Paraiso (Come to Me Paradise), 2016, 25:46 minutes

On a gloomy Sunday in Hong Kong, Paradise calls them. Or rather, they call home, and she is Paradise. They gather once a week, coming together to transmit messages with smartphones, the strength of their signal intensifying as their numbers swell. Stephanie Comilang’s 2016 film Lumapit sa Akin, Paraiso [Come to me, Paradise] tells the story of a homeland bereft of its inhabitants, who have left in search of livelihoods elsewhere. Their guardian is Paradise, and she watches her kindred lovingly from above. Paradise is cast in her role by way of a drone who scans the horizon for these women, narrating her thoughts to us alternately in English and Filipino, (her voice provided by Comilang’s mother).

The film, a sci-fi short set in Hong Kong, is a portrayal of the affective and real labor of the contemporary Filipina migrant worker. Unlike many attempts to capture the plight of the global migrant in film, collectively cast in their role as a disenfranchised populace, Comilang’s take is at once personal and empowering. Women speak a language of their own, they connect with each other in weekly self-care activities, occupying the central business district with dancing and picnics and workshops. Taking the technology of the drone—one traditionally implicated in its function toward military surveillance—Comilang channels its panoptical qualities inward. Paradise’s gaze is one of love and concern as she muses in shy reproach, watching her kin amid a cold landscape. Communication with far-off loved ones is catalyzed by Paradise, who is both here and over there, in a spiritual meditation on migration that is brought to life not because of the crystal-capital that Hong Kong is often dramatized for, but in spite of it.

Stephanie Comilang is an artist living and working between Toronto and Berlin. She received her BFA from Ontario College of Art & Design. Her documentary based works create narratives that look at how our understandings of mobility, capital and labour on a global scale are shaped through various cultural and social factors. Her work has been shown at Ghost : 2561 Bangkok Video & Performance Triennale, S.A.L.T.S Basel, UCLA, International Film Festival Rotterdam, and Asia Art Archive in America, New York.

Club Ate is a collective formed in 2014 by multi-form artists Justin Shoulder and Bhenji Ra. Their practice traverses video, performance and club events with an emphasis on community activation. Collaborating with members of the queer Asia Pacific diaspora in Australia and the Philippines, the collective is invested in creating their own Future Folklore. Past Club Ate events have taken the form of Pageants, Variety Nights and Balls. The collective has performed and exhibited internationally, with recent highlights including The 8th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, QAGGOMA, Brisbane, 2015-16; Fault-lines: Disparate and Desperate Intimacies, ICA Singapore, 2016; AsiaTOPA, ACMI, Melbourne, 2017; and Balik Bayan, Blacktown Arts Centre, 2017. They were also a finalist in the Singapore Art Prize at the National Museum of Singapore and have recently completed an Asialink Residency hosted by Green Papaya Arts, Philippines, 2018. They are currently working on the next episode of their video project Ex Nilalang; Queen of Horror to premiere in 2020.

Accessibility: The gallery is wheelchair and walker accessible. If you have specific accessibility needs, please contact us at (604) 683-8326 or

Centre A is situated on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded Coast Salish territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh peoples. We honour, respect, and give thanks to our hosts.

Listening Vessels Workshop

Listening Vessels (2019), Aaniya Asrani, photo courtesy of the artist.
Listening Vessels (2019) at Emily Carr Recent Graduates Exhibition, Aaniya Asrani. Image courtesy of the artist.


Dear Guest, 

We would like to extend an invitation for you to participate in a gathering hosted by us (Aaniya Asrani and Reyhaneh Yazdani), in conjunction with Centre A’s current exhibition: (dis)location (dis)connect (dis)appearance, taking place on the 9th of August between 5:00 – 7:00 pm. 

You have been invited to participate in this conversation as we believe your contributions to the following discussion would be invaluable. We hope to see you there, but if you aren’t able to make it please pass this invite along to somebody you think would benefit from an informal conversation around home, care, and belonging. 


Aaniya Asrani, Reyhaneh Yazdani,

with Diane Hau Yu Wong, and the Centre A team


About Listening Vessels by Aaniya Asrani: 

Listening Vessels is an experimental and experiential space where we come together to have a conversation. This workshop takes the form of an auditory exploration in order to uncover a sense of place and our collective and individual identities within it. Focusing on conversations in relation to our relationship to home, our identities and the sense of belonging alongside others in the space.

Situated on a site of rest, constructed at Centre A, the listening vessels (a vessel for conversation and a vessel for contemplation) seek to embody care, as they want to listen, be present with or activated by others. In this workshop, the vessels will act as material collaborators to having a conversation as they amplify the sound of our voice, our ability to hear another and even ourselves.

The workshop aims to create a sense of community among participants from different walks of life to share stories, rituals, traditions, and anecdotes of their cultures and home. It activates the space within the exhibition through a sound-discovery workshop and dialogues facilitated by ceramic vessels.

Light refreshments will be provided. 

* There will be audio and video recording for the purpose of documentation. Let us know if you are uncomfortable with this and arrangements can be made accordingly.*


Accessibility: The gallery is located on the second floor of the Sun Wah Centre, and accessible by elevator. If you have specific accessibility needs, please contact us at (604) 683-8326 or Diane Wong at

Stitch n’ Bitch Workshops

**Part of (dis)location (dis)connect (dis)appearance, June 20-August 10, curated by Diane Hau Yu Wong.**

As a method to explore and rediscover their roots, a number of artists in the exhibition have employed textile, an often time-consuming medium, to explore familial relationships and their diasporic identity.

Join us in reflecting upon craft as a cultural medium while learning hands-on textile art techniques from artists in the exhibition and other local textiles artists and organizations. Bring your own project or start something new with other textile-minded souls.

Stitch n’ Bitch sessions will launch on June 20 before the opening reception, and take place every Saturday until the end of the exhibition.

Workshop Dates:

+ June 20, 3-6pm
Embroidery Workshop with Olivia Chan and Florence Cing-Gaai Yee
+ June 29, 1-4pm
+ July 6, 1-4pm – Embroidery Basics
+ July 13, 1-4pm – Knitting
+ July 20, 1-4pm – Boro
+ August 3, 1-4pm – Crochet

This event is co-presented by the UBC Department of Art History, Visual Art & Theory.

Accessibility: The gallery is located on the second floor of the Sun Wah Centre, and accessible by elevator. Accessible washrooms are available. If you have specific accessibility needs, please contact us at (604) 683-8326.

Centre A acknowledges that this exhibition takes place on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded Coast Salish territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh peoples. We respect, honour and give thanks to our hosts.

Film Screening: All Our Father’s Relations

As part of (dis)location (dis)connect (dis)appearance, Centre A will be hosting a film screening of All Our Father’s Relations on Tuesday, July 23rd from 7:00-9:00pm. Come early to join us for refreshments and the Centre A Annual General Meeting from 6:00-7:00pm.
Schedule of events:
6:00 – 7:00 pm – Centre A AGM
7:00 – 8:00 pm – Screening of All Our Father’s Relations
8:00 – 9:00 pm – Panel discussion
About the Film: 
All Our Father’s Relations tells the story of the Grant siblings who journey from Vancouver to China in an attempt to rediscover their father’s roots and better understand his fractured relationship with their Musqueam mother. Raised primarily in the traditions of the Musqueam people, the Grant family and their story reveals the shared struggles of migrants and Aboriginal peoples today and in the past. 

This film helps to record and revitalize the interconnected histories of Chinese Canadian and First Nations relations along the Fraser River in British Columbia. Dating as far back as the 19th century, relations between Chinese and First Nations in Canada were often respectful and mutually beneficial; both peoples supported one another in the face of marginalization and racism.

Stay tuned! Panelists will be announced at a later date. 
Accessibility: The gallery is located on the second floor of the Sun Wah Centre, and accessible by elevator. Accessible washrooms are available. If you have specific accessibility needs, please contact us at (604) 683-8326.

Centre A acknowledges that this exhibition takes place on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded Coast Salish territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh peoples. We respect, honour and give thanks to our hosts. 

Centre A x Rungh: Art + Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon

April 27, 2019 12-5PM

We would like to acknowledge that this event is taking place on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territories of Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations.

Centre A and Rungh are partnering to support increasing the representation of women and non-binary artists on Wikipedia by hosting an Art + Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon committed to creating and updating pages for women identifying artists. Together, we invite you to bring forth stories that too often go unacknowledged in the art world. In this event, we would like to focus on feminism through an intersectional lens that acknowledges dimensions including, race, class, privilege, disability, sexuality and others that have contributed to unequal or prejudiced representation.

Please join us in reconsidering our role in our own participation and representation of our culture and community in the open-source knowledge platforms.

Come on your own or with friends to discuss, create and update Wikipedia pages on artists working from the margins, with resources from the Rungh archive and Centre A’s library collection.

Books, research materials and light refreshments will be provided.

New to Wikipedia Editing?

The edit-a-thon will begin with our free tutorial led by Simranpreet Anand on April 27th at 12pm. Participants will learn how to begin their research, edit and create Wikipedia pages, and keep them online.

About Art+Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thons

There is a well-documented and noticeable gender gap on Wikipedia. Many studies have measured this gap. Some have estimated female contributors at a total percentage of 9%; the highest studies say 13%. Gender inequities on Wikipedia lead to a bias in content and language and contribute to the erasure of knowledge and histories.

Art+Feminism’s Edit-a-thons and other initiatives make an impact on the gender gap through crucial improvements to gender, feminism, and art related subjects on Wikipedia. Since 2014, Art+Feminism edit-a-thons have taken place across the world, creating and improving over 11,000 articles.

For more information on Art+Feminism Edit-a-thons, visit:


12:00pm – 1:30pm
Intro to Wikipedia editing (optional)

1:30pm – 5:00pm
Art + Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon

Preparing for the Event:

– Please create a Wikipedia account prior to the event
– Bring a laptop and charger
– We will also have a list of suggested topics but participants are welcome to bring their own ideas for entries!

For additional information and questions about the event please email

How do I sign up?

People of all gender identities and expressions are invited to participate in making an impact on women, gender, feminism, and the arts on one of the world’s most popular sites. Please bring a laptop and power cord to the event.

The event is free and open to the public, please RSVP if you can to help us with our catering count or, if you find yourself in the neighbourhood, drop in!

Sign up on Eventbrite


Childcare: If you require childcare, please contact Diane at by 12pm, April 25, 2019, or call (604) 683-8326.

Mobility: The gallery is wheelchair friendly. If you have specific accessibility needs, please contact us at (604) 683-8326.

*Please Note: This event is jointly hosted by Centre A and Rungh, and registration information will be shared by both organizations.