British Columbia

Mobile art gallery disguised as 'lost and found' hits the Granville strip

Artist Germaine Koh's booth at Robson and Granville encourages Vancouverites to share what they've 'lost'

Artist Germaine Koh's booth at Robson and Granville encourages Vancouverites to share what they've 'lost'

Germaine Koh's first mobile art gallery hit the streets of downtown Vancouver disguised as a lost and found kiosk. (Germaine Koh)

It's not uncommon for visitors on the Granville strip to wake up after a party-filled night out to find they've left their wallet, phone or other belongings behind. 

Now, a new kiosk at Granville and Robson gives locals the chance to make posters of their missing items.

Loss Found is put on by artist Germaine Koh. She says the kiosk is actually a mobile art studio, and the installation is meant to give audiences the chance to mourn the loss of something that was precious.

"We have posters people made about losing members of their family, and we've had actual lost posters, where someone came by and [made] a poster for the keys that she lost on New Year's Eve," said Koh on CBC's North by Northwest.

Some of the posters in the kiosk are literal, while others are more intangible and poetic, says Koh. (Germaine Koh)

Koh says her experimental project drew dozens of visitors. Some created whimsical posters, while others are more poetic and introspective.

"One of the ones I like best is a poster that was made by a homeless girl ... her poster says 'I've always been lost, but I'm okay knowing I'm here, and no matter where I am, here is where I'm at', which is kind of a profound statement for someone that's surviving on the street."

Small spaces

Homelessness is a theme that Koh has explored in her past work, and one that continues to influence her art.

Her kiosk was built out of recycled construction wood. She says that was a deliberate choice to highlight how some have to live modestly and with little resources.

"I've always had a willingness to think about what is the basic living unit, and trying to make the most out of the least amount of material and space," she said.

Koh's kiosk is now stationed at the Art History and Visual Art Gallery at UBC but could soon be returning to downtown Vancouver. (Germaine Koh)

Koh has since relocated the kiosk back to UBC's Art History and Visual Art Gallery where it's now on display, but she says it will soon be back on the streets.

She's currently working with an art collective that has a vending permit the corner of Granville and Robson, a perfect space for her mobile gallery.

"We've determined that we want to use it for an exhibition space. I guess technically, it's an art vending space."

With files from CBC's North by Northwest

To listen to the full interview, click on the audio labelled: Mobile art gallery disguised as 'lost and found' hits Granville strip