British Columbia

'I want people to jump': Public art installation forces Vancouver to confront its own trash

An artist from Delhi spent months digging through landfills — now he's putting Vancouver's trash on display

CBC News

November 09, 2017

The items used in the art display were set to be dumped in a landfill or incinerator. (Jodie Martinson/CBC)

An artist from Delhi is forcing Vancouverites to confront their own trash — by putting it on display.

Asim Waqif came to Vancouver a few months ago and spent his time digging through landfills.


Now, the piece he's curated is on display next to the front entrance of the five-star Shangri-La Hotel, at the Vancouver Art Gallery's offsite space.

​"I had this impression of Vancouver being a really clean and very desirable city to live in, but when we went to the landfill to look at how the city deals with waste management, I was a bit disappointed frankly," he said.

Asim Waqif, an artist from Delhi, came to Vancouver a few months ago and spent his time digging through landfills. The piece he curated is now on display at the Vancouver Art Gallery's offsite space. (Jodie Martinson/CBC)

"It seems to me the way of managing trash here is more about hiding trash from the people who are creating. So you buy all of that stuff, and you put it into the right coloured bin and you feel like you've done the right thing." 

The project, which also features an audio component, is built exclusively from materials that were set to be dumped in a landfill or incinerator.

Waqif said he hopes the project will inspire Vancouverites to get up close and personal with their own trash. 

"I want people to jump. I want them to become juvenile, forget the formal art appreciation that they get into," he said.

"And I would like the people of Vancouver to be aware of actually what's happening to their trash. That is my intent."

The display opens Thursday night, near the corner of Georgia and Thurlow streets. 

The project also includes an audio component. (Jodie Martinson/CBC)

With files from Jodie Martinson

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