Saturday, 4 December 2010

Ken Lum’s offsite installation heading across Burrard Inlet

An art work that plays around with the meaning of Shangri-La is moving closer to the local spot that inspired it.

Earlier this year, artist Ken Lum’s from shangri-la to shangri-la was installed at Offsite, the Vancouver Art Gallery’s public art site at the Shangri-La Hotel on West Georgia. Works installed on the site are all intended to be temporary, and Lum’s three scale replicas of the shacks that once stood on the mudflats in North Vancouver will be removed as scheduled on Tuesday.

What’s changed is that the art work has a new lease on life: the District of North Vancouver has agreed to take the wood-and-glass installation, which was built at a cost of about $50,000.

“We’re very excited,” said Ian Forsyth, the director of the district’s arts office. “It was an initiative of the mayor, Richard Walton. He was intrigued about bringing it over to North Vancouver.”

Forsyth said that at a recent council meeting, the mayor and six councillors voted unanimously to bring Lum’s piece to the district “and make it a permanent part of our story.”

What still hasn’t been decided is exactly where the art installation will be located. No permanent site has been chosen, but Forsyth said it could go to a new interpretative centre at the Wild Bird Trust just off Dollarton Highway or in a new development in Maplewood Business Park or Parkgate Community Centre.

“There are lots of ideas floating around,” he said. “We’re going to get it over here and store it in one of the district work yards for however long it takes to identify a site.”

Lum’s artwork is comprised of one-third to one-quarter-scale replicas of squatters’ shacks that once stood on the mudflats at Maplewood and Dollarton. The area had been home to a community of squatters starting in the early part of the 20th century until they were burned down in 1971. The oldest shack belonged to writer Malcolm Lowry, author of Under the Volcano. The other two shacks were replicas of the homes of Greenpeace activist Paul Spoon and artist Tom Burrows. Read more on Vancouver Sun

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