“– May Day – Mayday – Maydaze –”

aly de la cruz yip, Ho Tam, Tania Willard

May 1–June 12, 2021

– May Day ­­– Mayday – Maydaze – features three new print commissions by aly de la cruz yip, Ho Tam, and Tania Willard, organized by Artspeak and Moniker Press. With a focus on print and publishing methods designed to meet urgent needs and modes of distribution, we opted for the effectiveness of risograph printing. The risograph prints and wallpaper are displayed in the window space at Artspeak, while the gallery remains closed to the public. These prints are available for purchase via Artspeak and Moniker Press, with all proceeds going to the DTES Response Fund.

The artists included in this show are known for their consistent engagement with expanded printmaking and publishing techniques. We were drawn to the ways their artistic practices are informed by and firmly grounded in their commitment to organizing in their respective communities. aly de la cruz yip is a member of WePress collective: a group of artists and community organizers who work to promote self-expression by providing workshops on historic and contemporary methods of print and art making for the community of the Downtown Eastside. Ho Tam runs a press and bookshop/gallery, providing a space for artists and cultural producers whose practices frequently question and complicate the idea of the Nation State. Tania Willard runs the collaborative project BUSH Gallery; a conceptual, land-based gallery grounded in Indigenous knowledge and relational art practices. 

aly de la cruz yip’s work combines multiple mediums, gravitating towards analogue techniques such as letterpress, blockprinting and silkscreen. de la cruz yip’s work brings together sensory imagery familiar to the neighbourhoods of Chinatown and the Downtown Eastside. Featuring ginkgo leaves, chrysanthemum buds, floating joss paper, and a reclamation of their bat relatives, find home in ritual is reminiscent of a stroll down East Pender Street in early spring.

Ho Tam’s The Greatest Stories Ever Told is an extension of an artist’s book series of the same title. So far, Tam has produced different variations of this book in 14 different languages. The collages therein utilizes images taken from banknotes. Removing these symbols of significance from their intended context as the design of national currencies, Tam brings into question ideological narratives of the Nation State. Which stories and historical figures are perpetuated, circulated and given value, and how can we reconfigure what constitutes value?

Tania Willard’s Memorandum of Understanding is a continuation of a query around land and value, from a series of work Snowbanks and other Investments (2020). Memorandum of Understanding pairs legalese with representations of land to consider the way bureaucratic processes and language assert land rights. The legalese of colonial institutions is a firm reminder of the different understandings underpinning our relationships to land. 

An edition of 100, these prints are available for purchase via Artspeak and Moniker Press, with all proceeds going to the DTES Response Fund.

– Bopha Chhay and Erica Wilk

Artspeak is a non-profit artist run centre established in 1986. The mandate of the gallery is to encourage a dialogue between visual art and writing. Artspeak actively contributes to cultural communities through our commitment to artists producing challenging, innovative work in diverse media, our affiliation with like-minded organizations, and the public interest we generate in contemporary art.

Artspeak is located on the unceded territories of the xwməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) and Səl̓ílwətaʔ (Tsleil-Waututh)
First Nations.