Shahla Bahrami, Hich o Pooch / Nothing and void, 2021. Courtesy of the Artist.

Shahla Bahrami, Hich o Pooch / Nothing and void, 2021. Courtesy of the Artist.


Day At Capture

A Day At Capture with Zoë Chan, Assistant Curator, Vancouver Art Gallery 

Best days for this self-guided tours are: Monday – Sunday

9:00 am On my way to work at the Vancouver Art Gallery, I would admire Shahla Bahrami’s work at the Vancouver City Centre stop on the Canada Line (just opposite Nordstrom). I discovered this striking series presented at Galerie Pierre-François Ouellette art contemporain last year and jumped at the chance to curate her, when Capture invited me to propose an artist engaging with the still life genre. I’m drawn to the seductive qualities that she uses in her work even as she discusses more disquieting issues.

10 am At work, I’d walk through Everything Under the Sun: In Memory of Andrew Gruft. Opening on Friday, April 15, this exhibition features numerous photographs donated to the Vancouver Art Gallery by local collector couple extraordinaire, Claudia Beck and the late Andrew Gruft. Curated by my colleague Grant Arnold, this exhibition is practically a History of Western Photography 101— find me drooling over the Robert Franks and the Helen Levitts!

10:30 am Coffee break – I used to work at a pastry shop in Montréal, so I’m always on the lookout for a good croissant…I’d go to Thierry Chocolat and grab one there or maybe I’d treat myself to one of their puff pastry tarts with apricot or pear.

10:45 am Before heading back to work, I’d pop over to Pendulum Gallery to see Family Album curated by Capture’s Executive Director, Emmy Lee Wall. The pandemic has made me nostalgic for my parents, so I’m especially compelled by her theme of the family. So many talented artists, including Anique Jordan, Meryl McMaster, and Cheryl Mukherji!

12 noon Lunch break – I’m always thinking about food, so I’d jump on the Canada Line to Waterfront Station just for the chance to check out Shellie Zhang’s Offerings to Both Past and Future series. Zhang’s constructed “shrines” of lushly coloured fruit and vegetables photographed against vibrantly patterned backdrops are exactly what your eyes crave after a long rainy West Coast winter.

And then I’d walk back to work, but not before grabbing a sandwich to go from Birds and Beets and stopping by Paper Hound to pick up a second-hand book!

Zoë Chan has curated exhibitions at several art institutions across Canada. Most recently, at the Vancouver Art Gallery, she curated Uncommon Language (2020-21), and co-curated Where do we go from here (2020-21) and Stories that animate us (2021). In her research, she has delved into such subject matter as youth, food, embodied storytelling, hybrid documentary practices, and diasporic representation. Her writing has been published in C Magazine, esse arts + opinions, and Momus, among others, and in 2015, the Canada Council for the Arts awarded her the Joan Lowndes Award in recognition of excellence in critical and curatorial writing. She holds a Master’s degree in Art History from Concordia University.

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