Vancouver International Centre for Contemporary Asian Art

South South East


Centre A Summer 2009 | Emerging Artists and Curators Program
Part One

South South East 
An imaginary voyage across the Indian Ocean

Exhibition: June 6 – June 20, 2009
Opening reception: Friday, June 5, 8pm
Symposium: Saturday, June 6, 1-5pm
Organized by: Makiko Hara & Debra Zhou

South South East is a project featuring residency, screenings and symposium linking Canadian artists to practices emerging in countries bordering on the Indian Ocean, including Mauritius, India, Burma, Thailand and Indonesia.

1. Drinking Down the Earth is an open studio exhibition conceived by artist-in-residency Roy Caussy in collaboration with Maggie Boyd. During the two weeks, Caussy and Boyd will transform Centre A’s gallery space into an open studio where they will be making drinking cups out of the clay they gathered from Kanaka creek, Maple Ridge. The cups are designed after the clay chai drinking cups intended for a one-time use, and often seen on the trains of India. The chai vendors pour the tea into clay cups that hold about 3 gulps worth, and when the chai is done the cups are tossed out the windows to shatter on the ground, allowing the organic detritus to return to a state of fulfillment.

Caussy and Boyd will restage the process inside the gallery, which aims to remind the viewer of the great sense of wonder. The clay cups will serve as vessels to directly establish ties with the earth. The clay used by Caussy and Boyd will come straight out of the ground and onto the throwing wheel and, with time, disintegrate back into the earth, but not without first having provided us with a service. The project is influenced by the gift of giving and the clay cups will be available to the public for free.

2. LIVE On-Screen, curated by Ikbal Singh, is a series of excerpts selected from live performances by artists that have traversed their way to two opposite sides of the Pacific Rim to perform in three international performance art festivals: LIVE in Vancouver, Beyond Pressure in Burma, and Asiatopia in Thailand. Coming from here and there artists spoke, burned, built and destroyed, danced about and laid bare their bodies for any and all who prey witness.

Artists in Burma play an adversarial game with authorities who equate public performance to political movement and therefore prevent people from gathering. Beyond Pressure’s goal is to not only offer artists, local and from afar the opportunity to converse and express within it’s confining environment but also to create a public awareness of the unfamiliar territory of the artform. For the organizers of Asiatopia, playing the role of the receptive host is what they continue to aspire to year after year, offering local and international artists a place to meet and share since 1998. From these two festivals and among the last LIVE (Vancouver’s own performance art festival), curator Ikbal Singh compiled a sample of those that triggered her response by either curiosity or association.

3. The symposium will engage a wild diversity of perspectives on the “politicized South”. Ikbal Singh and Roy Caussy will discuss their work in the exhibition. Hank Bull (Executive Director of Centre A) will present his theory of the “Southern School”. Randy Gledhill (Executive Director of LIVE Biennale 2009) will talk about art and politics in South East Asia.


Roy Caussy’s work explores the forces of balance, tension, energy and the release of these forces. The work often takes place within a landscape and evidence, or documentation, of these projects are brought into the gallery space as proof of their having taken place. Caussy perceives his role as an artist much like a voice yelling out into the expanse joining other voices which together take form and become a force itself. Having graduated from NSCAD University in 2006, Caussy is currently the artist in resident at Centre A. He is also one of the three founding members of Mountain Club, an artist collective based in Vancouver.

Maggie Boyd
‘s work acts as a stimulant to remind the viewer of quietly present beliefs within themselves. By the addition of one’s personal creative act, these ever-present beliefs will continue to reverberate. Everything we make is in dialogue with our past and will eventually be part of the consciousness of our future. Boyd attended Nova Scotia College of Art & Design University and lives and works in Vancouver B.C. Maggie Boyd is one of the three founding members of Mountain Club.

Ikbal Singh is an artist and curator based in Vancouver. After graduating from Emily Carr University, she curated Public Displays of Affection, the emerging artist group show for LIVE Performance Art Biennale 2007. She has also performed at numerous exhibitions and events in Vancouver, including the recent 1067, a collaborative performance event that’s part of the LIVE Biennale off-season program.

The LIVE Biennale (formally LIVE Performance Art Biennale 1999-2007) was founded in 1999 and has located Vancouver, Canada as an important and recognized node of local, national and international performance art activity and critical study. LIVE 09 will be held from October 15 to October 31 this year in various locations.

Special thanks to City of Vancouver Diverse Initiative Program for supporting Roy Caussy and Ikbal Singh.

Centre A gratefully acknowledges the generous support of its patrons, sponsors, members, partners, private foundations, and government funding agencies including the Canada Council for the Arts, the British Colombia Arts Council, and the City of Vancouver through the Office of Cultural Affairs.

For more information please contact:
Debra Zhou, Organizer