This summer, in one of several new shows and events at Surrey Art Gallery, the history of Japanese-Canadian berry farmers in this region will take root during artist Cindy Mochizuki’s residency at the facility’s TechLab.
Mochizuki, who received the Vancouver’s Mayor’s Arts Award in New Media and Film in 2015, will work to create an Autumn Strawberry multimedia installation.
The title refers to the name of a strawberry crop that could fruit in cold winters. It was bred by Bunjiro Sakon, an “Issei” pioneer (Japanese immigrant to Canada) who ran a farm in Mission, according to an event advisory.
For her TechLab residency, Mochizuki will collect berry farming-related agricultural histories and stories from Japanese Canadians in Surrey and the Fraser Valley. She will also create drawings, scripts and storyboards for an animated film.
Mochizuki will blend her own family history into the narrative, as her grandparents were berry farmers in Langley before the Second World War.
When war broke out, the Canadian government sold their farm and sent them, along with other Japanese residents, to labour camps in the B.C. Interior.
Stated Mochizuki: “During the internment, the Japanese Canadians weren’t allowed to take photographs. Because there were no images, I’m interested in making those images. I want to make visible what is not visible in history.”
Also this summer at Surrey Art Gallery, local talent takes the spotlight in the gallery’s 35th annual summer showcase, ARTS 2019, a juried exhibit featuring more than 50 works, including paintings, drawings, glasswork, sculptures, fabrics, photographs, and more. Both emerging and established artists submitted work in the open competition.
An exhibit-opening reception will be held at the gallery on Friday (June 28) from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Admission is free.
For more details about Surrey Art Gallery and events there this summer, call 604-501-5566 or visit surrey.ca/art.