Five galleries to help you escape the upcoming rain

Scattered throughout the Lower Mainland, these lesser-known galleries are worth exploring for their often unique exhibits

The Polygon Gallery’s Third Realm exhibition features work such as Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Ghost Teen, 2009. Courtesy of Polygon Gallery

By: Devana Petrovic, Staff Writer

* All galleries on this list have free admission, except The Polygon which is by donation until the end of 2020

Chinese Canadian Museum

Located at the heart of Vancouver’s Chinatown, the Chinese Canadian Museum is displaying a temporary exhibition called A Seat at the Table. The exhibition looks at the historical stories of Chinese-Canadian immigrants in BC, struggles with integration and belonging, and how restaurant culture has helped expand and diversify immigrant communities. The exhibition takes place in the Hon Hsing Building and includes multimedia forms of presenting stories. If you’re interested in an interactive experience, complete with story panels, videos, and audio clips, you may want to make a reservation (at least 24 hours in advance) on their website.

The Polygon

Unmissable at the Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver, The Polygon is offering a temporary exhibition, as well as their regular ongoing displays. On until November 8, Third Realm by Davide Quadrio is a contemporary art showcase that “offers critical insights into the sociopolitical shifts occurring during the 2000s when Asia’s economic prosperity began to command global attention.” The exhibition explores a period of artistic production in Asia (2004–19) through photography, film, and installation. If you find yourself doing some window shopping at the Lonsdale Quay Market, The Polygon makes for an excellent addition to your day.

Surrey Art Gallery

The Surrey Art Gallery is currently displaying a couple different indoor exhibitions. Where We Have Been (available until December 13) is a collection of works from various artists and looks at “the interconnection between place and identity in the South of Fraser region, through selections from the Surrey Art Gallery’s permanent collection.” The exhibition has been put together with a selection from the Surrey Art Gallery’s permanent collection. 

Searching for Surrey is on until December 13 and is by artists James Lash, Sheri Lynn Seitz, and Dan Tell. The exhibition is a presentation of several well-known landmarks in Surrey, through the artistic vision of the artists. As described on the Surrey Art Gallery website, “Each artist lends their own style, vision, and technique to their preferred subject matter [ . . . ] together, their works capture some of Surrey’s enormous architectural, historical, and natural diversity.” 

The Contemporary Art Gallery

This gallery in downtown Vancouver is currently showing a few different exhibitions. On until January 3, Grass Drama by Julian Yi-Jong Hou, is a performance accompanied by hanging patterned fabrics with incorporated sound, spoken word, drawing, and sculpting. Grass Drama takes aspects of the artist’s diasporic childhood memories, while bringing forward a multi-sensory experience for viewers. 

While this exhibition actually takes place off-site at the Yaletown-Roundhouse Station, Memorial for the lost pages is also available until January 3. By Madiha Aijaz, the exhibition displays videos and photographs of the artist residing in Canada for the first time. Aijaz’s pieces navigate struggles with “language and identity, longing and loss, public space and colonial legacies through a visual language rooted in both the mundane and the quietly theatrical.”

Available online and at the Contemporary Art Gallery until the end of 2020, In this space, is a showcase by Arts Umbrella’s Visual Art Summer Intensive — by youth artists aged 15 to 19. The works are a collective response to the COVID-19 pandemic, where the artists’ final projects “reflect on the familiar environments — physical and otherwise — we often take for granted.”

Burnaby Art Gallery

Open for exhibition viewing by appointment, the Burnaby Art Gallery is offering one in-person exhibition. By Ellen van Eijnsbergen and Jennifer Cane, Reading Art “explores text-based and literary works of art on paper.” The exhibition features several well-known conceptual works from the late 20th century, including classics like Dante’s Divine Comedy, Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, and Marcel Proust’s Swann in Love. Reading Art takes from both the gallery’s permanent collection and works provided on loan. It is available to the public until January 17.