Accessible spaces for creative expression are disappearing in Vancouver.
In the group show Vanishing Vancouver, local artists working with analog photography show recent prints documenting spaces that either no longer exist, or are at risk.
Shortly after inviting the other artists to participate in this show, Alistair Henning came across a book of watercolour paintings by Michael Kluckner entitled Vanishing Vancouver, published in 1990 by Whitecap Books.
In the book, Kluckner writes: “While the city should not be an unchanging museum, neither should it be just a commodity that is bought and sold and traded and knocked down and built back up – that is not a city. ... To date, Vancouver zoning and taxation policies have been far from neutral on this matter: they have favoured speculators and developers, in the mistaken view that this is better in the long term for the city” (pp. 12-16).
Thirty years on, we still see destruction of creatively and historically meaningful spaces; and insufficient action by local governments to prevent this destruction and honour creative communities that contribute so much to Vancouver’s economy and society.