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

Fruit farmers in the Okanagan and Creston valleys are in desperate need of cherry harvesters amid COVID-19 work shortages. (Photo: Unsplash/Abigail Miller)
‘Desperate’ need for workers at Okanagan cherry farms

Fruit farmers are worried they’ll have to abandon crops due to COVID-19 work shortages

Firefighters were called to a grass fire on a hillside slope behind the post office in Summerland on Friday shortly before 2 p.m. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Firefighters extinguish blaze behind Summerland Post Office

Fire on hillside slope occurred Friday, June 18 shortly before 2 p.m.

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

Emergency crews responded to Highway 97 after a motorcycle incident. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Motorcyclist taken to hospital after collision on Highway 97

It is not known the extent of their injuries

The illegal open fire above Naramata continues to smoke on Friday, June 18. The fire was left to burn itself out by BC Wildfire. (Monique Tamminga - Western News)
Illegal open burn in Naramata will be left to smoke

BC Wildfire could not confirm whether the property owner had been fined

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

Starting in 2022, the Columbia Shuswap Regional District is extending dog control to the entire Electoral Area D. (Stock photo)
Dog control bylaw passes in Shuswap area despite ‘threatening’ emails

CSRD board extending full dog control in Electoral Area D starting next year

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Patrick O’Brien, a 75-year-old fisherman, went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search for lost fisherman near Victoria suspended, U.S. Coast Guard says

The 75-year-old man was reported missing Thursday evening

Bruce Springsteen performs at the 13th annual Stand Up For Heroes benefit concert in support of the Bob Woodruff Foundation in New York on Nov. 4, 2019. (Greg Allen/Invision/AP)
Canadians who got AstraZeneca shot can now see ‘Springsteen on Broadway’

B.C. mayor David Screech who received his second AstraZeneca dose last week can now attend the show

New research suggests wolves can be steered away from the endangered caribou herds they prey on by making the man-made trails they use to hunt harder to move along. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Culling cutlines, not B.C. wolves, key to preserving caribou herds: researcher

The government has turned to killing hundreds of wolves in an effort to keep caribou around

Gary Abbott (left) and Louis De Jaeger were two of the organizers for the 2014 Spirit of the People Powwow in Chilliwack. Monday, June 21, 2021 is Indigenous Peoples Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of June 20 to 26

Indigenous Peoples Day, Take Your Dog to Work Day, Onion Rings Day all coming up this week

Gwen Spencer Hethey with her uncle and mentor Major Frederick Richardson. (Courtesy of Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame)
‘She was a killer’: The B.C. woman who pioneered female sharpshooting

Gwen Spencer Hethey made military men ‘look like turkeys’ says her son

Most Read