Future Memoria

Paradise and disaster collide at Surrey Art Gallery

Jer Thorp, Hope/Crisis, 2011, screenprint. Photo by SITE Photography.

Future Memoria

June 22 – August 25, 2024
Summer Opening, Artist Talk, and Performance: Saturday, July 6 | 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Surrey, BC – Surrey Art Gallery is pleased to announce the permanent collection exhibition Future Memoria opening on June 22. The reception on July 6 features a panel discussion at 6:30 p.m. with exhibiting artists Jim Adams, Miki Aurora, and jil p. weaving, moderated by Assistant Curator Rhys Edwards. The panel will be followed by an art performance from the PLOT community garden project and a musical performance by Miki Aurora. Admission is free.

In Future Memoria, selections from the Gallery’s permanent collection, along with loaned artworks, embody both dystopian and utopian ideals and the concept of the future itself. They convey the role art plays in the future’s many imaginings.

Daniel Jolliffe, Yes, Yes and Yes, from the Control Panels series, 2019, plastic, custom and non-functional electronics. Gift of family of Daniel Jolliffe. Photo courtesy of the artist’s estate.

The exhibition traces the spectrum of futurity in all its tempting humours and horrors. Visitors will encounter lush fantasies of aesthetic splendour and abundance, as in the animations of Alex McLeod and Laura Lamb, as well as the spectres of nuclear apocalypse depicted by textile artist Barbara Todd or printmaker Doug Biden. Elsewhere, Daniel Jolliffe, Myfanwy MacLeod, and Vikky Alexander capture idealistic self-help programs, artificial landscapes, and the dominance of computational thinking and technological solutions. Sculptures, photographs, and drawings by Keith Langergraber, Heather Kai Smith, Sylvia Grace Borda, and Ts̱ēmā Igharas focus on the challenges of utopian thinking in practice. Their artworks explore both the promise of a better life through the democratic nation-state and improved civic infrastructure and the hells of economic scarcity, racist social policies, ecological catastrophe, and social breakdown. The worlds of utopia and dystopia coexist, each a dark reflection of the other’s excesses.

“Although many of the artworks address dark themes, my hope is that visitors do not leave in a state of despair,” says Assistant Curator Rhys Edwards. “Rather, the narratives on display in this exhibition convey the persistence with which we seek to imagine what a good life looks like, or a bad one. They speak to the perennial necessity of imagination as a force for change in the world.”

Barbara Todd, Security Blanket: Black Rain, 1996, mixed fabric quilt. Acquired with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts Acquisition Assistance program. Photo by Cameron Heryet.

Exhibiting artists in Future Memoria include Jim Adams, Vikky Alexander, Miki Aurora, Doug Biden, Sylvia Grace Borda, Marcus Bowcott, Judy Chartrand, FASTWURMS, Colette French, Ts̱ēmā Igharas, Carole Itter, Daniel Jolliffe, Katherine Knight, Laura Lamb, Keith Langergraber, Gary Lee-Nova, Micah Lexier, Don and Cora Li-Leger, Alex McLeod, Myfanwy MacLeod, Carel Moiseiwitsch, Margaret Naylor, David Neel, Tom Nickson, David Ostrem, the PLOT community garden project, Haris Sheikh, Meera Margaret Singh, Heather Kai Smith, Jer Thorp, Barbara Todd, jil p. weaving, Anna Wong, and Robert Youds.

There will be two events in connection to Future Memoria: a lecture and workshop about the PLOT community garden project on July 27 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., and an exhibition tour co-led by Assistant Curator Rhys Edwards and Simon Fraser University professor Doctor Roxanne Panchasi on August 10 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

The July 6 Summer Opening event will also commemorate the closure of ARTS 2024, the annual open-juried art exhibition held in collaboration with the Arts Council of Surrey, where the People’s Choice Award will be announced.

Ts̱ēmā Igharas, Apocalypse Later, 2018, gold-leaf on steel with turf. Photo by Matthew Hays.

About Surrey Art Gallery

Founded in 1975, Surrey Art Gallery presents contemporary art by local, national, and international artists, including digital and audio art. Recognized for its award-winning programs, the Gallery engages children through to adults in ongoing conversations that affect our lives and provides opportunities to interact with artists and the artistic process. The Gallery is located at 13750 88 Avenue in Surrey on the unceded territories of the Salish Peoples, including the q̓ic̓əy̓ (Katzie), q̓ʷɑ:n̓ƛ̓ən̓ (Kwantlen), and Semiahma (Semiahmoo) nations. Surrey Art Gallery gratefully acknowledges operating funding from the City of Surrey, Province of BC through BC Arts Council, Canada Council for the Arts, and the Surrey Art Gallery Association.

Media Contact
Irene Lo, Communications Coordinator
Irene.lo@surrey.ca or 604-598-5897

Surrey Art Gallery
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Surrey Art Gallery is a free art gallery located within Surrey Arts Centre. We are committed to providing accessible and inclusive services, programs, and opportunities and are actively working on more. For more details please visit this page.