Things on the Shoreline

Cindy Mochizuki

Curated by Kimberly Phillips

13 Feb to 16 Apr 2016

When we are bored, the landscape appears barren, empty. But it is precisely this arid space in which the imagination can run wild, and produce whole populations of teeming, whimsical, creaturely life. Things on the Shoreline is a collaborative project initiated by Access Gallery, visual artist Cindy Mochizuki, and the students of Lord Strathcona Elementary School and the Vancouver Japanese Language School. From October to December of 2015, Cindy was a guest artist at both schools, and in a series of image- and story-making workshops, worked closely with students in grades four and five. The starting point of these workshops was the visualization of an empty, barren seashore—the empty page—and, working with ink, salt, and words, and then to slowly draw out the myriad possibilities that lie await in that space. The results of the workshops—a raucous population of whimsical inky creaturely things and the invented environments in which they live—is the focus of the exhibition at Access Gallery. The project culminates in the launch of a limited-edition, hard-bound children’s storybook, which incorporates both Mochizuki’s Things and those of her student-collaborators.

Things on the Shoreline draws on Mochizuki’s established practice of mining community stories and folklore, and sees her extending her drawing practice in new experimental ways. Here she investigates the art of slowness, and explores the ways in which something wondrous can arise from nothing, revealing the emancipatory potential of the “messy antics” (to use Walter Benjamin’s term) of play.

Children are encouraged to attend all events.

Exhibition tours are available for school and after-school groups every Wednesday and Thursday from 1:00PM - 4:00PM for the run of the exhibition. Please contact the gallery at for more information. Teacher’s guides are available here in both: English and Japanese


Cindy Mochizuki creates installation, performance, animation, drawings, and community-engaged projects which considers spaces that embody both the fictional and documentary. Often working with archival sources, memory work and interviews; her practice revisits historical and personal memory. A large body of her work investigates narratives and memories within the archive of familial architecture, including childhood spaces, home videos, photography, and oral histories. Her community-engaged projects include Shako Club (grunt gallery, 2015), Fortune House (Koganecho Bazaar, 2014), and Bow Wow and Slow Trades & The Collections Turtle (City of Vancouver Parks Board Strathcona Field House, 2013). Recent exhibitions include: AIR 475, (2014) Yonago, Japan, Fictive Communities Asia, Koganecho Bazaar (2014), On the Subject of Ghosts, Hamilton Artists Inc (2013), Yokai & Other Spirits, Toronto Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre (2013), and To|From BC Electric Railway 100 Years, Vancouver International Centre for Contemporary Asian Art (2012).


In partnership with Lord Strathcona Elementary and the Vancouver Japanese Language School, this project has been made possible by a BC Arts Council Youth Engagement Grant. Additional support has been generously offered by Opus Art Supplies and VIVO Media Arts Centre. We are grateful also for the workshop support provided by esteemed children’s educators Caroline Liffmann and Sarvenaz Amanat, for our project intern and photographer Sara Sampson, videographer Asa Mori, sound composer Ellis Sam, and Japanese translator Kazuho Yamamoto.