A piece by Sarindar Dhaliwal

Two new exhibitions open at Surrey Art Gallery

Opening reception and illustrated talk Saturday evening.

The experience of migration affects not only how we remember our culture, but also how we recreate it in our new country.

The process of relocating to a new homeland can influence our interpretation of symbols, and have a powerful impact on how we form and adapt our identities.

The Surrey Art Gallery exhibition Sarindar Dhaliwal: Narratives from Beyond explores questions about culture and memory in both personal and provocative ways. Featuring selections from ten years of photography, sculpture, textile, and video, this survey showcases one of Canada’s most accomplished South Asian artists.

Drawing from childhood memory, global history, and the real and imagined, the world revealed in Sarindar Dhaliwal’s mixed-media art presents riveting meditations on beauty, identity, exile, and home. The exhibition traces the artist’s experiences in India (where she was born), Britain (where she was raised and educated), and Canada (where she has lived and worked for close to three decades).

The complex and often hidden traumas of the partition between India and Pakistan is symbolized in Dhaliwal’s map of these two countries formed from marigold flowers that appear as though on fire. The joys and traumas of childhood are infused in the artist’s giant handmade fairy tale books and large-scale, meticulously arranged coloured pencil collections. The world of sport returns again and again, as in the delicately embroidered cricket leg pad framed within an ornate marble window.

In a second exhibition, Figuring Ground: Sylvia Grace Borda and Jeremy Herndl, the vibrant, rapidly-shifting landscapes of Surrey and its region are featured.

With an eye to Canada’s long venerable tradition of landscape art, these two artists present dynamically seductive pictures that capture often-overlooked spaces of habitation and labour in the contemporary edge city.

Borda repositions the modern practice of farming in the Surrey and Fraser Valley growing basin in the context of historical art vocabularies and brings it into the foreground as a contemporary art subject through the use of photography and video.

Herndl’s oil paintings capture the emotionally charged, rapidly shifting environment of North Surrey where nature and the city, new and old architecture, transient and fixed cultures intersect.

In their two very different examinations of human presence in semi-urbanized landscapes, Herndl and Borda’s art sheds new light on the city and the country, and where these places interconnect in strangely wonderful and sometimes troubling ways.

Both exhibitions launch on Sept. 21 with an opening reception from 7:30-9:30 p.m. At 6:30 p.m. Dhaliwal will give an illustrated talk. Admission to the opening reception and artist’s talk is free. The exhibitions continue to Dec. 15 – admission is by donation.

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