What the heck is that? East Van cross

Seen the new sculpture in East Vancouver yet?

Monument for East Vancouver, by local artist Ken Lum, recently went up at East 6th Avenue and Clark Drive.

The piece is part of the Olympic and Paralympic Public Art Program.

As reported by the Straight's Robin Laurence, it's one of a number of new light-art pieces in the city.

Lum is also the creator ofA Tale of Two Children, located at Malkin Avenue and Thorton Street in Strathcona.

Comments (81) Add New Comment
davey g
Talent.
Thanks Mr. Lum.
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Beth
I see it every day when I drive home from work and I love love love it. It's so huge and it seems so proud to be proclaiming that you are about to enter East Van. Stay away, all those afraid to enter. Ooh-rah!
Beth
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Oldtimer
If I were a resident of East Van I might question the use of the Cross. The Cross is an obvious Christian symbol, could they not have chosen another design that is not so blatantly religious?. My background is Christian, but I do not like to impose my religious choices onto the community as a whole. I find it Offensive.
And for those who think that East Van starts at Clark and 6th, you should perhaps consider that everything east of Main St. is technically East Van. Sorry for being so precise.
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Robin
What I really love about this work is how emotionally charged it is. There is a lot of history and memory that projects from the work, much of it painful. Bravo to Cultural Affairs for a change.
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Josh
Love it. Instead of simply being "offended" by the Christian imagery, let's try to look deeper. Christianity is a part of DTES history, whether in this neon cross or the massive wooden crucifix that hangs at St. James Anglican church, or by the actions of those who have helped (there have been many, and continue to be) or even hurt in the name of Christ in the DTES.
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MrNogatco
It's nice to actually see public art in Vancouver, even if it is VANOC sponsored. Let's hope the city doesn't tear it down and put a blue pole or something in its place.

@ Oldtimer - I don't think the artist intended the cross to viewed in a religious light (no pun intended). Click the 'Monument for East Vancouver' link in the article for more info on the piece.

And to be even more technical, the eastside is everything east of Ontario Street. ;-)

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Beth
In many people's minds, the REAL East Van (before Main Street became trendy that is) starts at Clark. As for the cross, I've been seeing that shape of East Van logos for what seems like forever. Given all the Italian and Spanish and other Christian-based folks who populate the area, if it's seen as a Christian cross, who cares? Funny that you didn't see it as a 'T' shape.
Beth
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Rating: -2
aaddyy123123
I can see why they used a cross, too help all the sins being committed and sinners who live there! OOH RAH
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therzo
It's sad that some people feel the need to keep the shape/design of a cross as a symbol of christianity. I can see how a christian person may take it this way; however, I choose not to "see" Jesus every time I see a cross.

It is only a shape and no one should allow any religious group to co-opt a design.

Also, the beautiful piece of art work is in East Van. Who said it has to symbolize where East Van starts?

I live two blocks away from it and love it.
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Rating: +8
Reis
Clearly it is not a Christian Cross. Too many people have a knee jerk reaction against religious representation in our culture anyway. (Open your minds people, religion is a human reality). As someone who grew up in East Van I remember the East Van Cross for what it was, a ubiquitous symbol of East Van rebelliousness with a shady gang history. Among the gangs associated with this symbol were the Clark Parkers and the EVS, which were already dissolving by the time I hit my teens. For me the East Van Cross was a tag we would proudly put up in washroom walls, etc as our way of saying, we are here, don't forget about us, and don't mess with us. Vancouver used to have a much bigger divide between East and West, working class and rich, immigrant and white, and the East Van Cross was a reminder to us that we can still hold our head up and be proud of where we came from. And also a reminder to the kids on the westside, that if you come to our school to play a game and you make fun of us, or our cheap cars, or cheap clothes, that we will have no problem with letting our fists talk for us. While I'm glad the more violent associations are gone, I'll always be a proud East Vanner, and I myself have drawn a few of those crosses in different places at different times. Yay to public art that resonates with the community. I am very proud to be from East Van and I love this piece. East Van Rules!
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Rating: +4
Amanda Growe
In a July 2009 post on his blog A Million Monkeys Typing, Andy Jukes quotes Ken Lum as saying in the Globe and Mail that a Commercial Drive location was also being considered for the sculpture and that he preferred that one. Lum then responds in the comments that the Clark Drive location has been selected, but that he can see its strengths.
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Rating: +4
old school
I used to have that cross on the back of my storm rider jean jacket with flames and other symbols back in the 80's, and my older cousins wore the cross long before myself in East Van. Nice to see it still around!!!! Total flashback for any old schoolers of the area.
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carolina
it's like a beacon of awesomeness. love love love.
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Eastsider
I love the East Van sign. It's makes me so damn proud for a change. EASTSIDE!
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cyndi
I'm dissapointed with use of this low classism stereotype that this symbol represents. Not all of us who live here share those values (free the weed 420, eat the rich,etc) Some of us have to because we cant afford elsewhere. The sign itself is beautifully done, but why not just have it read 'poor side of town'? Not everyone finds that something to be proud of.
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Rating: +4
Beth
Not everyone who lives in East Van is poor, Cyndi. And being poor is no crime or drawback if the person without money is motivated by things other than the almighty dollar. There are some like myself, neither rich nor poor, who just prefer to live in East Van to be amongst creative, interesting, diverse people who don't have their heads up their collective asses. You know what I love? Hearing skateboards thunking thunking down Commercial Drive at 1:00 am, when there is no other sound. And hearing the blues coming out the window of the joint down the street. And where else would you see a man in a natty suit walking down the street wearing a green monster head the day before Halloween, or get to listen to a brass band, complete with tuba, as it marches up Commercial Drive on New Year's Eve, while two women dancing alongside? Where else can you regularly hear Italian, French, Spanish, etc. spoken openly in Vancouver outside of a language school? East Van has its problems, but it's part of the deal.
Beth
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Rating: +9
KITS1234
where else can you find child prostitution, where else do homeless die on the street, where else are hard drugs available in 5 minutes or less, where else can you go 3 feet and see both used condoms and syringes, where else does one's car get broken into within 5 min of parking in an underground, where else does a bicycle go through 15 different owners. I guess you see my point celebrate it all you want but, personally I don't know how proud I could be off a place that has preteens selling themselves for sex to 50 year old men. But I guess some people are proud of weird things
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miguel
I'm a lifelong member of the working poor, and I've lived a life full of fond experiences that more affluent people never see.Car payments and mortgages are a ball and chain.
Miguel
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it's the east side
I'm surprised the APC hasn't come out against this. Two low/no-income people could stand or walk through the area of land the artwork has it's base on.

Now people will have to walk around it or not stand there. The horror!
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Rating: +5
Neener
My heart throbbed with pride when I first caught glimpse of the East Van sign. I remembered my youth, from attending preschool by Grandview Elementary, to attending primary school at Britannia and Strathcona; and then highschool at Templeton. This is our community. This symbol has been a part of our community for a long time and that gorgeous sign, especially when seen while on the skytrain is like a shining beacon of this incredible community.

Feel free to add whatever religious contexts you want, but personally, I just think the words fit together that way. You certainly can't do that in West Van or South Van. Don't let whatever religious contexts you choose to add to the piece make you dislike it. Our city has lost too much beautiful public art because of people who are afraid of works that speak to people. Appreciate it for what it is, please!
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Rating: -2

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