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

St. Joseph's Mission site is located about six kilometres from Williams Lake First Nation. (Photo submitted)
Williams Lake First Nation planning ground analysis of land near former residential school

St. Joseph’s Mission Indian Residential School operated from 1886 to 1981

Free boxes of fresh produce are currently being provided in Quesnel by the Canadian Mental Health Association of Northern BC thanks to a donation from West Fraser Mills. (File photo)
Fresh produce available for those in need in Quesnel

Donation allows Canadian Mental Health Association to provide free fruits and veggies

Elizabeth Pete is a survivor of St. Joseph’s Mission in Williams Lake. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
WATCH: Kamloops bound convoy greeted by Canim Lake Band along Highway 97

Well over two dozen members of the Tsq’escenemc people (Canim Lake Band) showed up

Five rehabilitated grizzly bears were released this month into the Bella Coola area. The Northern Lights Wildlife Society will also be delivering 36 black bears to areas across the province where they were previously found. “They’re ready to go and they’re already trying to get out,” says Angelika Langen. “We feel good when we can make that possible and they don’t have to stay behind fences for the rest of their lives.” (Northern Lights Wildlife Society Facebook photo)
People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

Children’s shoes and flowers are shown after being placed outside the Ontario legislature in Toronto on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ontario commits $10 million to investigate burial sites at residential schools

Truth and Reconciliation Commission identified 12 locations of unmarked burial sites in Ontario

Singer-songwriter Jann Arden is pictured with a draft horse. (Canadian Horse Defence Coalition)
Jann Arden backs petition to stop ‘appalling’ live horse export, slaughter

June 14 is the International Day to End Live Export of Animals

Two hundred and fifteen lights are placed on the lawn outside the Residential School in Kamloops, B.C., Saturday, June, 13, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former Kamloops Indian Residential School earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Days after Kamloops remains discovery, Tk’emlups families gather to unite, move ahead

‘We have to work together because this is going to be setting a precedent for the rest of the country’

In this Saturday, May 29, 2021, file photo, people crowd the Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, Calif. California, the first state in America to put in place a coronavirus lockdown, is now turning a page on the pandemic. Most of California’s coronavirus restrictions will disappear Tuesday, June 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
With COVID tamed, it’s a ‘grand reopening’ in California

No more state rules on social distancing, no more limits on capacity, no more mandatory masks

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

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

Most Read