WALKING EAST - juan contreras

This series displays art forms as part of the environment where the oldest-known residents used to belong. There is, however, an exception to the exhibition’s expressed iconography; Chinatown’s distribution has taken the stroke of the word dragon, bringing into the conversation the ongoing syncretism that defines the city’s constantly evolving identity. One may wonder if the underlying forms and shapes that define DTES will disappear with the ongoing structural changes that are taking place in the area. The current model of development that has been introduced to DTES, which is based on compacting and what is being considered as efficient land use, may not alter how the major routes and streets have been traced. It will, however, alter how current and future residents relate to the land and to each other. The DTES continues to breath, move and change, led by its deep roots, its history, its turbulent present and the many forces that are constantly at play in the area. The markings of its current histories may only be revealed with time. The Vancouver Downtown Eastside (DTES) is a living and organic walking area of Vancouver. For many decades it has been the home of historic districts, ethnic markets, and a mix of commercial and industrial zones. The area has seen rapid change in the last decade and is currently filled with potential and controversial new developments. Each neighborhood or city district can be walked from end to end in fifteen minutes; they are not more than one kilometer wide. Contrary to what

one may think, the shape and distribution of DTES is not the result of natural growth meant to fit the landscape; on the contrary, an order was imposed since its beginning to follow a pattern of land subdivision according to a city map traced two centuries ago. The DTES exists on aboriginal unceded land; Walking East goes around of the city map unveiling the silhouette of the traditional artistic forms planted in the earth. Each piece in the exhibition uncovers the fingerprint of the ancestors of the land on the city map; the demarcation of districts and neighbourhoods in these areas follows the silhouette of art forms based on the principle of ancestral creatures revealed through the aboriginal form-line system.

The DTES exists on aboriginal unceded land; Walking East goes around of the city map unveiling the silhouette of the traditional artistic forms planted in the earth. Each piece in the exhibition uncovers the fingerprint of the ancestors of the land on the city map; the demarcation of districts and neighbourhoods in these areas follows the silhouette of art forms based on the principle of ancestral creatures revealed through the aboriginal form-line system.

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