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Artworks at four SkyTrain stations celebrate contemporary Black-Canadian art and artists

Artworks at four SkyTrain stations celebrate contemporary Black-Canadian art and artists

'Woven Consciousness' by Natoya Ellis is a series of eight artworks displayed at Stadium–Chinatown Station

Take an artful journey. We’ve partnered with local curator, writer, and artist Nya Lewis to produce Carry it Well, a series of public art installations that celebrate contemporary Black-Canadian art, artists, and the presence of African and Black communities in Metro Vancouver. Carry It Well features four large-scale artworks by contemporary Canadian artists Jan Wade, Natoya Ellis, Adeyemi Adegbesan, and Nya Lewis.

The artworks will be on display at Main Street–Science World Station, Granville Station (Dunsmuir exit), Stadium–Chinatown Station, and VCC–Clark Station for the next two years.

Working across a myriad of mediums, the four artworks peer into the traditions and ideologies of printmaking, quilting, Afro-futurism, and archival research to explore themes of stewardship, lineage, and tradition. The series “daylights” African and Black presence and history in Vancouver.

Here’s the story behind every piece:

Breathe by Jan Wade

Two columns wrap artwork 'Breathe' by Jan Wade at VCC–Clark Station

? VCC–Clark Station

Previously presented at the Vancouver Art Gallery in the solo exhibition Soul Power (July 2021 – March 2022) and reproduced for Carry It Well, Breathe is a large-scale embroidery work featuring over 70 hand-stitched panels. For Jan Wade, time and embodiment are necessary elements of creation. Created over an 11-year period between 2009 and 2020, the vibrant abstract work took on new meaning in 2014 following the killing of Eric Garner in a prohibited chokehold by a police officer in New York City. Breathe became a mantra, a spell, and a meditation to sustain the artist’s life. Wade explains, “Every stitch is a new breath, an acknowledgment of the unacknowledged, an honoring of the work of women makers, and a daily reminder that the miracle of breathing should never be taken for granted.” (Wade)

Jan Wade is a nationally renowned artist who works in mixed-media assemblage, painting, sculpture, and textiles. Wade draws inspiration from her personal history as a Black Canadian woman with a mixed cultural background.

Woven Consciousness by Natoya Ellis


? Stadium–Chinatown Station

Natoya Ellis has created a series of eight artworks that foreground the hybridity and connectivity of the Afro-diaspora living in the region. Foliage native to the Chinatown area is juxtaposed with a variety of fabric patterns in these cyanotype prints and digital illustrations. Woven Consciousness intricately blueprints the fabric of our lives, intimately mirroring diverse embodiments of Black presence, and communicating a visual language of familiarity and humanization. Bandana, Kente, Ankara, Lamba, Madras, and Netela prints move across the illustrations and silhouetted figures in a lively recognition of tradition, heritage, and modernity. Woven Consciousness invites viewers to explore the subtleties of identity, belonging, and the cultural richness that characterizes Vancouver’s Black community. The series fosters a greater appreciation for the layered tapestry of Black culture within the diverse social fabric of the city.

Natoya Ellis is a multidisciplinary mixed media and installation artist. Her work examines the Black figure, Black womanhood, and the Black gaze.

Look for Us in the Whirlwind by Adeyemi Adegbesan

Artwork 'Look For Us In The Whirlwind' by Adeyemi Adegbesan above the escalators at Granville Station, Dunsmuir exit

? Granville Station (Dunsmuir exit)

Inspired by a quote from the great Pan-African and Jamaican national hero, Marcus Garvey, Look for Us in the Whirlwind is an Afro-futuristic dreamscape and an ode to three leaders of the Black Vancouver Labour movement, Rosemary Brown, Frank Collins, and Emmitt Andrew Holmes. Like Garvey, Brown, Collins, and Holmes embraced a life of activism, shouldering the responsibility of advocacy in the hopes that future generations would prosper. They devoted their lives to fighting for fair treatment and equitable conditions for working people, and equality for people of African descent. Adeyemi Adegbesan boldly adorns Brown, Collins, and Holmes in Black contemporary and continental cultural signifiers that reflect their life narratives and characterize their leadership in Vancouver’s Black community. Among the adornments are Adinkra symbols, a porter hat, cowrie shells, railway porter and woodworkers’ union pendants, north star, and provincial flowers, reimagining these historical figures within a visual language of Black power and love.

Adeyemi Adegbesan is a Toronto-based multidisciplinary artist whose practice examines the intersectionality of Black identity. Adegbesan pulls from various elements of Black cultural ideologies to create Afro-futuristic portraits embodying themes of history, fantasy, speculative futures, and spirituality.

A History in Perpetual Motion by Nya Lewis

Artwork 'History in Perpetual Motion' by Nya Lewis wraps a wall at Main Street–Science World.

? Main Street–Science World Station

In its second iteration (first presented at The Museum of Anthropology in 2021-2022 as Writing Black Vancouver), A History in Perpetual Motion forges a visual timeline of call and response for Black Vancouver presence. Lewis’s text-based installation threads headlines from archival and contemporary newspapers Vancouver Herald, Georgia Straight, Vancouver Sun, The Tyee, North Shore News, and The Province. Transcribing over 100 clippings from 1940 to 2023, A History in Perpetual Motion is an embodied offering, readdressing the labour of placemaking, anti-colonial work, cultural production, and collective conceiving of Black communities in B.C. In bold, the phrases, ‘a call to action’, ‘a declaration of being’, and ‘a hope for what’s to come’. “Writing Black Vancouver Futures” and “Honoring Black Vancouver Histories”

Nya Lewis is a writer, curator, and artist who sees her work within a lineage of Black thought that blaze(d) a trail of discourse concerning Black experiences, love, question, heritage, and embrace. She currently serves as the Director of Artspeak Gallery and as the Vancouver Art Gallery research fellow.

Learn more about the artists and their art by reading through the didactic panels at the stations or by visiting

Through public art, TransLink provides a platform that amplifies artists’ voices, fostering meaningful dialogue on topical issues and telling stories that matter to our customers and the public.

TransLink acknowledges and thanks the project’s advisory panel, our community partner Hogan’s Alley Society, and Board Member and Chair of the Hogan’s Alley Society Community Land Trust, Amina Yasin, for their contributions to the project.

Use this map to discover all public art installations in our transit system.  


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