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May we suggest

News / May 2, 2013

Centre A Launches New Space & Program in Vancouver’s Chinatown

A view of the new Centre A space during a recent fundraiser / photo courtesy Centre A A view of the new Centre A space during a recent fundraiser / photo courtesy Centre A

Centre A, the only public gallery in Canada dedicated to contemporary Asian visual art practices, has opened its new location in the city’s Chinatown at 229 East Georgia Street.

Located in the first floor of a co-op building, the gallery is proximal to new spaces for 221A, Unit/Pitt, and Access Gallery.

Formerly Centre A was located in the Downtown Eastside. It was prompted to move by rising rents and gentrification in that area.

Though the new space is considerably smaller than the old one—1,500 square feet as opposed to 5,000 square feet—executive director Haema Sivanesan says she has big hopes for it.

“I’m interested in bringing artists from around Canada to Vancouver to be able to broaden the discussion,” she says. “Because the conversations about Asia tend to be regionalized within Canada.”

By way of example, Sivanesan notes that an upcoming Centre A exhibition will focus on the work of Montreal-based artist Hajra Waheed.

Waheed’s work has been collected by MoMA and the British Museum, but has been little shown in Canada—her current show at the Art Gallery of Windsor being a notable exhibition, Sivanesan says.

Sivanesan also hopes to show work by An Te Liu in the future. Though based in Toronto, Liu has family in Vancouver.

“His work looks at problems of modernity in architecture, and of course Vancouver is a very modernist city,” Sivanesan says.

The first show in the new gallery roster, opening May 24, focuses on Vancouver-based artist Khan Lee.

“What strikes me about Lee’s work, in contrast to an older generation of Asian-Canadian artists, is that it portrays an Asian man who is very much at ease with his identity within Vancouver’s landscape,” Sivanesan said in a release.

Centre A has a five-year lease on the new space, and the option for two more five-year leases subsequent to that.

Leah Sandals

Leah Sandals is a writer and editor based in Toronto. Her arts journalism has appeared in the Toronto Star, National Post and Globe and Mail, among other publications, and her creative work has been published in Prism, Room and Freefall. She can be reached via