Elegantly elemental paintings and historical images offer serene pleasures at Powell Street Festival

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      Amid the food and taiko drumming at the Powell Street Festival this Saturday and Sunday (August 4 and 5), make sure to find some time to take in some of its calmer pleasures—namely, its top-notch international visual-arts exhibits.

      First off, marvel at the intricate work of Japan's Chiharu Mizukawa, who uses only water, fire, and paper to create her serene paintings. You can find them at Centre A, where you can also meet the artist from 4 to 5 p.m. on Saturday. On Sunday, from 11:30 a.m. to noon at the Firehall Arts Centre, the artist will share how she makes her delicate paintings with her simple, elemental materials. 

      Also on view at Centre A is Taiwan-based Nao Uda, who's showing Words Fail Me and The Conversation both days of the fest from noon to 5 p.m. at the gallery. The slide projections show photographs taken in the places related to the Japanese-Canadian history in Canada, with stories inspired by interviews with Japanese-Canadians who used to live on Powell Street in 1930s and 1940s.

      Nao Uda

      Meanwhile, head to the Vancouver Japanese Language School on festival days to check out her installation piece, 316 Powell Street, also intimately linked to the history of the area. Shaped like a map of Powell Street, it invites visitors to write a childhood memory and stories about the neighborhood on a card in the gallery and put it into the pockets on the map. The artist will be onsite from 2 to 6 p.m. each day.

      And finally, listen to both artists speak at the talk Presence in the Absence, joined by artist Tomoyo Ihaha, on Saturday from noon to 12:45 p.m. at the language school. The discussion centres around their process and the role that paper plays in their work. 

      Chiharu Mizukawa's detailed paintings are made using only water, fire, and paper.