TransLink buses turn into rolling paintings as Contemporary Art Gallery launches How far do you travel? project

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      Five Canadian artists are giving 30 articulated TransLink buses a painterly new look over the coming year.

      It's all part of a big 2019 public-art project by the Contemporary Art Gallery and the transit authority is called How far do you travel?.

      Today marked the first of the buses to roll out wrapped in culture-crossing contemporary art, as Diyian Achjadi's nod to traditional Chinoiserie wallpaper and textiles made its debut. The Indonesian-born, Vancouver-based artist's NonSerie (In Commute)'s reconfigured historical illustrations attempt to portray an imagined Indonesia from the perspective of the 17th- and 18th-century Dutch colonizers.

      The remaining designs are by artists Patrick Cruz, Rolande Souliere, Erdem Taşdelen, and Anna Torma will hit the road over the rest of the year. Their art will be travelling major routes in Metro Vancouver, including the 99 B-Line.


      A detail from Patrick Cruz's Step Mother Tongue.


      Toronto-born Filipino-Canadian Cruz's pictographic imagery, which refers back to a precolonial Philippine language that was suppressed by the Spanish during their occupation. Anishinaabe artist Souliere, a member of the Michipicoten First Nation who now lives in Sydney, considers borders and land-claim issues with a design that evokes hazard tape, using the colour symbolism of the four directions of the earth in Indigenous culture. Toronto-based, Turkish-Canadian Taşdelen’s drawings, charts, diagrams, and graphs have been scanned from a psychology textbook, collaged like cryptic puzzles. And New Brunswick's Torma explores the diasporic experience, drawing from traditional Hungarian textiles and fibre-based arts to create whimsical imagery about her family history and Hungarian folklore.

      The project gets its official public launch at the CAG on the evening of January 17 with one of Achjadi’s wrapped buses parked outside the gallery from 5:30 to 9 p.m.

      Throughout 2019, CAG and TransLink will also present free public programming on the buses themselves, including artist talks, performances, and art-making activities for families. 

      A detail of Erdem Tasdelen’s Essentials of Psychological Testing.