On March 6th, over 75 people joined the Right to Remain/Revitalizing Japantown? team at Gallery Gachet for the official opening of Right to Remain: A Creative Repossession of the Human Rights Legacies of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. This exciting event brought together artwork and documentation from a series of workshops guided by DTES artists who engaged their community in dialogue about human rights. The event placed the human rights history of the DTES in the context of the present-day, highlighting the rights of current inhabitants in the current atmosphere of rapid social and economic change.
Herb Varley opened the event by acknowledging the traditional territories of the Squamish, Musqueam, and Tseil-Waututh nations, then placed the artworks in context by speaking about the waves of displacement that have taken place in the DTES since the colonization of the city now known as Vancouver, including Indigenous peoples, Japanese Canadians, Sex Workers, African Canadians, and the ongoing displacement of low-income people in the face of gentrification. Kristin Lantz from Gallery Gachet then spoke about the exhibit from the Gallery’s perspective, and thanked the artists, artist-facilitators, and researchers. Following this, Jeff Masuda from Queen’s University talked about the research project, and filmmaker Greg Masuda announced the exciting news that his documentary film related to the Right to Remain project would be shown on CBC Television in the late summer of 2015.
The current gallery installation is the first of two exciting exhibits of this work, the second of which will be installed at the Nikkei National Museum in Burnaby, BC in October 2015. The Right to Remain exhibition will be ongoing until April 12th at Gallery Gachet. For more information on the Right to Remain project, click here. See below for event photos!