In 2012, an Indigenous-led organization called Reconciliation Canada was founded in British Columbia with the mission to repair and revitalize relationships between all Canadian cultures. The City Council of Vancouver, in partnership with this organization, declared June 21, 2013–June 20, 2014 a Year of Reconciliation. In response, The City of Vancouver’s Public Art Program actively devoted 8 months of their programming in support of this larger project.
The Year of Reconciliation public art series highlighted the significant potential of public art to respond to and reflect upon troubling histories. Using the entire city as an installation site, these public artworks brought the issue of reconciliation to the forefront in a way open to interpretation and reflection. Both personal and public, the series provided space for individual artists to sort through the complexities of Canada’s history of racial injustice, hopefully spurring thought and discussion amongst the greater population.
The Year of Reconciliation public art series devoted existing resources, including transit shelters, downtown video screens, and the Vancouver Public Library, towards enhancing the Reconciliation initiative with an eight-month public exhibition of changing works. For the program, artists from across Canada were invited to propose 2-dimensional artworks related to reconciliation for temporary installation.
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