Capture Photography Fest has given some of Vancouver’s transit hubs a vibrant kick of creative juice! Even though the fest itself ended in April, many of the public art pieces along transit routes, including SkyTrain stations, will remain on display well into 2023.
While each one is worth visiting, and taking in a virtual tour on the Capture site, we thought we’d briefly introduce one of our favourite pieces.
Located downtown on the side of the Dal Grauer Substation on Burrard Street, Umi gives a moment of contemplation to one of Vancouver’s busiest roadways. Showing a woman in red laying on her side, the image presents what seems to be a private moment blown up to a massive scale. Is she relaxing or exhausted? Is her hand on her face because she’s deep in thought, or is it shielding herself from the gaze of the viewer?
While we may draw our own conclusions, Cwynar’s work is known for investigating the power structures embedded in the images that we encounter every day. Whether in advertising, public messaging or our own presentation of self on social media. “It’s a play obviously on all the traditional advertising we see where women are posed forward facing, looking at us, as if they are there for our gaze.” Cwynar says of the piece.
For us, the image creates a feeling of intrusiveness. As the woman reclines during a photo shoot with gaffer tape shown and the backdrop looking slightly dishevelled, it’s as if we’re looking at the moment of exhalation.
With the modern expectations for people (especially women) to maintain a certain standard of public image, we could be seeing the emotional toll of chasing perfection.
We’re hoping that works like this represent a shift in how emotions are portrayed in public. As we all race to showcase the best of our lives, it can leave us needing to lay down and cover our faces, even if the lighting is perfect.
That might just be our interpretation, but regardless we think this is an outstanding piece that will get people pausing in the A to B routine and consider if they need to take a moment to exhale.
Learn more about this piece and the other installations across the city here: capturephotofest.com
If coming along Burrard, you can take the 002 Downtown bus to Burrard and Comox. If taking the Skytrain, exit at Burrard Station and take the 44 UBC bus to Comox St. Or you can walk from the train, it’s not far!
*Cover Photo: Jocelyne Junker