Video game-like images on Surrey Urban Screen until May

Sonny Assu's colorful “1UP” featured on west wall at Chuck Bailey rec centre

Surrey-based artist Sonny Assu’s “1UP” digital art is currently featured at Surrey Urban Screen

WHALLEY — Video game-like images colour Surrey Urban Screen in the latest digital-art showcase there.

Surrey-based artist Sonny Assu has merged ’80s and ’90s gaming iconography with Northwest Coast “formline elements” to create his “1UP” work.

After dark, the site-specific installation can be seen on the west wall of Chuck Bailey Recreation Centre, at 13458 107th Ave.

In gaming culture, a “1UP” grants an extra life to a player, and Assu’s work “becomes a metaphor for how the First People have risen up for rights within a system that was designed to oppress and assimilate them,” he says.

“‘1UP’ is a nostalgic nod to my childhood,” stated Assu, who grew up in North Delta and now lives in South Surrey.

“I’d spend hours locked away in my room or a cousin’s basement, playing ‘Sonic The Hedgehog,’ ‘WonderBoy’ or ‘Altered Beast.’ I’d hoard quarters, normally spent in the arcade, and raid my grandfather’s change dish just to get the latest 8-bit or 16-bit games, wrapped in the iconic Sega grid packaging.”

Exhibits at Surrey Urban Screen begin 30 minutes after sunset and end at midnight.

“1UP” is on Surrey Urban Screen until May 8. An artist talk with Assu will be held on Thursday, April 21 at Surrey Art Gallery, starting at 7 p.m. More details are posted at

• At Surrey Urban Screen on Thursday (March 10), youth from Surrey-based Baobab Inclusive Empowerment Society will debut their digital art projects developed with mentoring artists in a partnership project with Surrey Art Gallery.

The young artists are Samah Bek, Sarah Bek, Puneet Bhullar, Tanvir Bhullar, Ravleen Brar, Rania Hasen, Kamalpreet Kaur, Noor Kawaiah, Rawan Kawaiah, Gulkirat Kochar, Hannah Mirhashemi, Fatima Musa, Malaz Mustafa, Sarah Mustafa, Kiranbir Sangha, Glady and Anjni Vij.

The free event starts at 7:15 p.m. with emcees Samah Bek and Edward Westerhuis.

The mentoring artists are Sylvia Grace Borda, Leannej, My Name is Scot and Edward Westerhuis.

More details are posted at



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