Vancouver-based artist Diyan Achjadi is a known name in the local art scene. Born in Jakarta, Indonesia to a West-Javanese father and an English-Canadian mother, Diyan grew up moving between Jakarta, Hong Kong, London, and Washington DC.
Diyan’s work will now be adding a vivid visual experience to your commute!
We’ve partnered with the Contemporary Art Gallery (CAG) to create a new public art initiative titled, ‘How far do you travel?’. It features five Canadian artists living in different countries around the world and are interested in considering images as transport systems.
Artists like Diyan have been commissioned to graphically wrap the exterior of 30 articulated buses traveling on major routes in Metro Vancouver throughout 2019.
When you board these wrapped buses, you will see the title, ‘How far do you travel? on the interior panels of the bus. It’s a question CAG’s curator Kimberly Phillips is hoping we will ask ourselves – how far does this imagery travel? Where does it come from and where is it going? She says, ” I hope it will offer an opportunity for people to think and look hard at the vast and complicated image world that surrounds us.”
Each wrapped bus contains an interior display with messages from the artists offering both a response to the question and an insight into their work on display. A series of free public events such as artist talks, performances, and activities will also take place on the wrapped buses while not in service throughout the year.
We launch this initiative with the work of Diyan, whose practice is fundamentally concerned with print media’s profound role in the transit of knowledge throughout the world. In a nod to traditional Chinoiserie wallpaper and textiles, Diyan envelops the buses in a reconfiguration of historical illustrations that depict an imagined Indonesia — its landscapes, architecture and fauna — from the perspective of the 17th and 18th century Dutch settler. An Indonesian herself, Achjadi’s project is a critical response to the cross-cultural influences, contaminations and fantastical imaginings that result from the colonial project.
The other artists are:
Patrick Cruz, who emigrated from the Philippines in 2005 and now lives and works in Toronto. For this project, Cruz wraps his buses in a variation of his installation Titig Kayumanggi (Brown Gaze), whose pictographic imagery is in part derived from a pre-colonial Philippine language suppressed by the Spanish during the centuries of their occupation.
Rolande Souliere is an Anishinaabe artist and member of the Michipicoten First Nation who lives and works in Sydney, Australia. Souliere wraps the buses in a graphic design evoking hazard tape, using the colour symbolism of the four directions of the earth in Anishinaabe culture.
Erdem Tasdelen’s artistic practice makes subtle inquiries into the nature and representation of subjectivity and personal identification. His work for How far do you travel? is a reconsidered version of the digital collage Essentials of Psychological Testing.
Anna Torma produces work that is both rooted in a Hungarian textile tradition and tethered to feminist movements of the 1960s and 70s, which reclaimed craft as a politicized practice. For this project, Torma draws from Abandoned Details, an expansive body of embroidered works.
Why are buses art-wrapped?
Public transit is an extension of the city and its people. Metro Vancouver is considered a vibrant and colourful city and these images on the buses offer an opportunity to explore the connections we make – between these visual elements and movement. Thus, the question – ‘How far do you travel?
Partnering with known entities in the art world gives us an opportunity to explore aspects of our transit system that are often always underutilized – in this case, the outer façade of the bus. Earlier this year, we partnered with the Emily Carr University of Art + Design  to increase awareness around transit etiquette.
Art on buses plays a pivotal role in also addressing the importance of arts education and major transit systems across the world have used this medium to connect the public to important issues, or just add an interesting visual element to their daily transit that is often also educative.
New York, Los Angeles, Koln (Germany), Toronto, and Dallas (DART) are some examples of cities that have effectively used art on their transit system!
We are excited to see how the public will respond to this project and to see how far these images travel!
Hey Metro Vancouver! Let us know if you see this bus! Share images with us using the hashtag #MyTransLink on Instagram . For other transit-related announcements, make sure you hit that follow button on Facebook & Twitter , .
Author: Tanushree Pillai (with inputs from the CAG)