Nanaimo-raised artist Brendan Lee Satish Tang built a life-size 1984 Ford F-150 truck out of watercolour paper as part of his Reluctant Offerings exhibition at the Nanaimo Art Gallery. (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)

Nanaimo-raised artist Brendan Lee Satish Tang built a life-size 1984 Ford F-150 truck out of watercolour paper as part of his Reluctant Offerings exhibition at the Nanaimo Art Gallery. (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)

B.C. artist makes offering of Ford F-150 sculpture to his ancestors

Brendan Lee Satish Tang presents ‘Reluctant Offerings’ at Nanaimo Art Gallery

Artist Brendan Lee Satish Tang says it’s a Chinese tradition to make burnt paper offerings to one’s ancestors, and in his latest exhibition he’s offerings symbols representative of his Nanaimo upbringing.

He just hopes his forebears don’t return to sender.

Starting May 21 and continuing until July 11, Tang, who now lives in Vancouver, presents Reluctant Offerings at the Nanaimo Art Gallery. It’s his first Nanaimo show since 2007 and while it’s meaningful for him to make his return, he said it comes with “another level of pressure.”

“There’s people [in Nanaimo] that knew me when I was a kid so I feel like there is always the pressure of wanting to present something that people you know would find interesting,” he said.

Tang describes the show as his most “raw and vulnerable” yet. Entering the gallery space will be reminiscent of walking into a forest campsite. The main component of the installation is a life-size replica of a 1984 Ford F-150 truck made out of watercolour paper set upon a campfire. Also on display are paper trucker hats and stubby beer bottles, and the trees in the clearing resemble those that hang from rear-view mirrors.

There’s also video of small burning paper trucks being played forward and backwards to represent a loss of communication with Tang’s ancestors.

“When I say ‘reluctant offering,’ it’s one of those things where I’m talking more about my distanced relationship with my ancestors and, though immigration and migration, losing contact with that history,” Tang said. “It’s reflecting on my own histories, my own personal history and disconnect, but also meditating and thinking about growing up in Nanaimo and growing up in Canada and what is that like and finding oneself within those spaces.”

A bird’s eye view of Nanaimo-raised artist Brendan Lee Satish Tang’s life-size paper model of a 1984 Ford F-150 truck at the Nanaimo Art Gallery. (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)

A bird’s eye view of Nanaimo-raised artist Brendan Lee Satish Tang’s life-size paper model of a 1984 Ford F-150 truck at the Nanaimo Art Gallery. (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)

The show is also the first to engage with the NAG’s new thematic inquiry: what is progress? NAG curator Jesse Birch said in Tang’s case, that progress comes in the form of the adult reflecting on growing up in Nanaimo.

“It’s about thinking about ideas around nostalgia, ideas around comfort and discomfort around certain symbols that he was around at that age, including a Ford F-150, of course, which is the centrepiece of the show,” Birch said. “Buts it’s mostly just thinking about that perspective looking backward to his young self looking forward to where he is now.”

Tang’s work often deals with concepts of hybridity and mixing of cultures. He said ideas around belonging and fitting in are “mulling over in my head a lot” because it’s a reality he’s lived himself.

“I don’t get described as Canadian. When people look at me they’re like, ‘Oh, you’re Canadian?’ because I’m not white … but then when I go abroad I definitely feel Canadian, so there’s that part of it,” he said. “And then there’s also my Chinese and South Asian heritage … and I was originally born in Dublin, Ireland, so there’s a whole mix of figuring out where my place is and where I belong and where I feel like I belong.”

WHAT’S ON … Brendan Lee Satish Tang presents Reluctant Offerings at the Nanaimo Art Gallery, 150 Commercial St., from May 21 to July 11. Facebook Live opening happens May 21 at 1 p.m.

RELATED: Nanaimo Art Gallery exhibit explores the ways people think about place

RELATED: Nanaimo Art Gallery exhibit explores life work of overlooked B.C. printmaker



arts@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Art

Just Posted

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

North Cowichan’s committee of the whole have rejected staff’s recommendation to limit the use of fireworks to Halloween. (File photo)
North Cowichan rejects limiting fireworks to Halloween

Municipality decides staff recommendation would be unpopular

Things are looking up for Vancouver Island as zero COVID-19 cases have been reported for the first time since October. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Island records zero new COVID-19 cases for the first time since October

For the first time since October, the province is reporting zero new… Continue reading

CVRD Area E director Alison Nicholson, right, hiked two hours to Waterfall Camp at the Fairy Creek watershed along with Comox town councillor Nicole Minion and Comox Valley Regional District director Daniel Arbour to meet with old-growth logging activists on Monday, June 7. (Submitted)
Cowichan Valley regional director visits Fairy Creek protest camps

‘They clearly communicated that they are committed to what they are doing’

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Karl and Stephanie Ann Johanson were thrilled to spot a pair of Sandhill Cranes in the Panama Flats this month, an unusual appearance for such birds. (Photo by Stephanie Ann Johanson)
WATCH: Sandhill cranes an unusual, joyful sight in South Island parkland

These birds don’t often touch down on their way between northern B.C. and Mexico

(V.I. Trail/Google Maps)
Now 90% complete, Vancouver Island trail forges new funding parnership

Victoria Foundation takes on Vancouver Island Trail Association; fund valued at $40,000

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Freighters have becomd abundant in the Trincomali Channel on the east side of Thetis Island.
Nanaimo ponders taking on waste from nearby anchored freighters

Vancouver-based Tymac petitioning the Regional District of Nanaimo to accept waste at its landfill

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Most Read