Osvaldo Yero

Curated by Charo Neville

13 Feb to 20 Mar 2010

Presented as part of Bright Light

by Access Gallery |

Opening Reception: Friday 12 February 2010, 7 – 10 PM

Access Gallery is pleased to present a new work by Osvaldo Yero as part of Bright Light: a temporary public art project commissioned by the City of Vancouver that involves fourteen local art organizations. Guest curated by Charo Neville, Passage is one of a series of cultural projects that will be on view through the months of February and March along the Carrall Street Greenway in the Downtown Eastside. Yero’s project will be visible from the street during the day through the window of Access Gallery.

Peering through a revealed slot in the otherwise darkened window the viewer will experience intense flashes of light, created by flickering LED lights which momentarily highlight knife blades set against a black backdrop in a completely darkened room. The brief beams of light on the spikes of metal suggest the reflection of light created from a lighthouse beacon, announcing a vast dark sea. Engaging the individual senses, yet disorientating the viewer and evoking the feeling of being alone in the middle of a dark ocean at night, the work offers a sense of solitude within the public space of the street. Its contrasting beauty and brutality also incites inevitable reflections about violence and self-preservation in the marginalized neighbourhood in which the work is situated.

As an immigrant to Canada from Cuba, Yero has consistently been concerned with themes that relate to his experience as part of the growing Cuban diaspora. Since living in Canada, Yero still frequently visits his homeland, where many of his family and friends continue to live with limited possibilities to leave. Like the paradoxical freedom and panic that swimming in a wide dark ocean may induce, Cubans are legally bound to their country, which is both home and prison. Many who try to escape across the ocean do not survive, or arrive on the other side only to be returned. The metaphor of death prevails in Yero’s practice. The title of the work, Passage, reflects these ideas – water is evoked as the dual possibility of freedom and death.

This new work also addresses myriad issues of integration and dislocation facing immigrants to a new country. Exhibited during a global event promoting nationalistic pride through marketing terms such as “dream,” “discover,” and “celebrate,” the installation in turn speaks to the underlying complexities of these utopic ideals.

This project will also include a forthcoming exhibition catalogue, to be published by Access Gallery, in collaboration with the artist and the curator.

Access Gallery gratefully acknowledges the Canada Council for the Arts, BC Arts Council, City of Vancouver, the 2010 Legacies Now’s program, Innovations, our members and volunteers. Access is a member of the Pacific Association of Artist Run Centres.