Vancouver International Centre for Contemporary Asian Art

Banners & Banner Paintings 1969 – 1973

Centre A is honoured to host a solo exhibition by one of Canada’s greatest artists, Takao Tanabe. The exhibition features a series of over 30 banners and banner paintings. These dramatic works make full use of Centre A’s high ceiling and open space. The exhibition coincides with Tanabe’s career retrospective, opening at the Vancouver Art Gallery on January 21. Centre A will host a public reception with the artist in attendance on Sunday afternoon, January 29, to coincide with Chinatown celebrations of the Year of the Dog.

Tanabe’s banners maintain a strong contemporary edge even after thirty years. He started making them in the late 1960s, a time of great change in the arts, when painting seems literally to be leaping off the wall. Commissions to produce banners for public spaces in Regina and Winnipeg inspired him to explore other applications of the form. Some were painted on canvas, while others were made in collaboration with a commercial flag maker in Montreal. These works on nylon are translucent and in some cases over 16 feet long. Seen from behind they look like stained glass windows.

Born in Seal Cove, a fishing village near Prince Rupert, BC, Takao Tanabe has been a leader in Canadian art for half a century. He represented Canada at the Sao Biennale of 1953 and has been going strong ever since. He is a master painter whose astonishing career includes a wide range of styles. For many years he was Head of the Art Program at the Banff School of Fine Arts, where he influenced many younger artists. He is a recipient of the Governor General’s Award and the Order of Canada. His work is represented by the Equinox Gallery where it will be featured in an exhibition opening on February 15.

Centre A is pleased to be mounting this exhibition in cooperation the Vancouver Art Gallery, continuing a tradition of collaboration between the two organizations.

We are extremely grateful to the President of Centre A’s Board of Directors, Anndraya T. Luui, for her generous sponsorship of this exhibition.