• Kim Kennedy Austin

    Kim Kennedy Austin is a Vancouver based artist. She graduated from Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in 2001 and since then her work has been shown at the Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver; the Vancouver Art Gallery; Charles H. Scott Gallery, Vancouver; State Gallery, Vancouver; Neon Gallery, Bosarp Sweden; and the Or Gallery, Vancouver, among others. Her work is represented by Lawrence Eng Gallery.

  • Melanie O’Brian

    Director/Curator of Artspeak 2004–2010.


Postage Stamp

April 24–July 1, 2009

Kim Kennedy Austin has designed a postage stamp for Artspeak. The project is the result of an invitation to the artist to intervene in some aspect of the gallery’s daily operations. The 54¢ Canadian domestic stamp will be used by Artspeak in the upcoming months to mail invitations, letters, and bills.

Canada Post uses stamp imagery to construct national identity, illustrating Canadian flora and fauna, celebrating holidays and events, recognizing Black History month and key figures in Canadian history. The authority of the Canadian stamp has recently given way to personalization. For a fee, individuals (and organizations) can customize a stamp, often for birth or wedding announcements. This personalization disrupts the original dominion of the stamp, revealing a bygone notion of nation that has been usurped by personal identity and commerce.

Austin’s project inserts Artspeak, and her work, into a national context. It not only considers national, institutional, artistic, and personal symbolism, but also conjures up the activities of collecting (stamps and art). The stamp’s talking heads connect it to recent projects by the artist that draw on book design from the last four decades while offering Artspeak a dubious purchase on a previously untapped branding opportunity.