Deanna Bowen: Night Prowl

Deanna Bowen, Night Prowl, 2019. Courtesy of the artist

Deanna Bowen: Night Prowl

Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver, BC - Ongoing - Off-site, THE WALL, CBC Plaza

by Robin Laurence

Raised in Vancouver and based in Toronto, interdisciplinary artist Deanna Bowen has built a powerful body of work out of research into her family’s roots and migrations and, alongside that, the history of Vancouver’s Black entertainment community in the middle years of the 20th century. Her Night Prowl photo mural serves as a ghostly remembrance of Vancouver’s once-thriving, multi-ethnic theatres and nightclubs, erased by “urban renewal” projects in the late ’50s and early ’60s. The work pulls a frame from a 1959 CBC TV news story and features the Blue Sky dance-club marquee, its neon sign sadly extinguished. Equally symbolic are the circular holes – the failures of history – punched by the manufacturer into cellulose film at the end of the reel.

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