April 2017

Posted by: Nicki Merz on April 20, 2017 at 3:09 pm

Although you might not recognize her name, you’ve probably seen her work. Elena Markelova is a Russian-born Vancouver-based artist, known for her double exposure animal watercolours and her detailed city maps. In fact, her gorgeous Map of Vancouver mural was featured at last year’s Home + Design Show, and is now on display at the Museum of Vancouver.

On Thursday, April 27, MOV is hosting a live Paint-In with Elena. Guests will have the chance to watch her paint and talk to her about her watercolour techniques. This event is free/by donation and open to all ages.

After seeing much of Elena’s artwork, I wanted to know more about her and what inspired her beautiful pieces. I had the opportunity to ask Elena those questions; read her captivating responses below.

Nicki Merz: You mention being inspired by the beauty of cities, nature, and the inhabiting creatures. Are there any particular artists that also inspire you? Or have inspired your work in the past?

Elena Markelova: Recently, I found myself crushed on two Australian creators, both based in Melbourne - Laura Blythman and Paula Mills. I guess Aussies take some coloured supplements daily, because these ladies' artworks are incredibly bright and rich in color. I love that they are not afraid to experiment and what they have achieved with their creations!

NM: When were you first encouraged to pick up the brush and start creating?

EM: I remember myself painting and drawing from the very little age - in kindergarten. I was 4 or 5 years old when I was painting my first real artworks, I think my parents still keep some of them. Then, I was never a very outgoing child; I would rather read a book or spend a few hours with my crayons or paints instead of running around with other neighbourhood kids. So one summer day during the school holidays (I was ten at that time) my mom came into my room. I was painting by myself, as usual, and she looked at me suspiciously and said: "Common, get dressed. We are going to sign you up for the art school!" This is how it all officially started.

NM: Where do you think your creativity comes from?

EM: My dad says it comes from him, because he was creative and artistic when he was young. I somehow believe it comes from both experience/skills and daily dose of inspiration from the outside – walk in the woods or just a glance over a freshly blooming flower. I professionally studied art and design for more than 13 years, and expect that my brain already started to interpret everything through some sort of artistic lens.

NM: Do you have any rituals or routines you like to complete before sitting down and starting an art project?

EM: I do lots of pre-work before starting any project. If I’m starting to work on a map, for example, first I read the history, do my research on monuments and attractions, then go sightseeing and sketching before transferring everything on a larger scale. Also I need to go through all the steps of painting beforehand, especially if I’m working with watercolours. And of course I need to find a perfect playlist for one or the other artwork. It helps me to get into the right mood.

NM: Do you have a piece you’re most proud of in your art collection?

EM: At the moment it is my largest piece of all – the map of Vancouver that hangs at the MOV. I spent so many hours on it and love every inch of this massive artwork.

NM: What is the biggest message you are trying to communicate with your art?

EM: I’m trying to deliver the beauty of the world. Hope that my creations could open the eyes of people who are stuck with everyday work routine or just stuck on one spot in life and don’t see any light, so then they would stop and look around – it’s so beautiful here! Or stop and smell the roses! There are so many colours in our world and I hope to bring those colours and cheer people up with my creations!

More information about the Elena Merkelova Live Paint-In event can be found on here.

Elena’s artwork is available for purchase in the MOV Gift Shop at the Museum of Vancouver, or at her Etsy store online.

Posted by: Nicki Merz on April 20, 2017 at 11:53 am

4/20 Celebration at Vancouver Art Gallery - 2013 - photo by Miranda Nelson

4/20 Celebration at the Vancouver Art Gallery, April 20, 2013. Photo by Miranda Nelson.


“Starting at Noon, more than 200 people begin to gather in Victory Square for the city’s first 4/20 celebration, an event that, according to the BC Marijuana Party Leader and “Prince of Pot” Marc Emery, is the first of its kind anywhere in the world.”

“…there were about only 150 people by 2 p.m., peaking at 250 people at 4:20 p.m. Nonetheless, open pot smoking went on for about 6 hours without any police interference”

This excerpt was taken from the book This Day in Vancouver by Jesse Donaldson. The book is available for purchase at the Museum of Vancouver’s Gift Shop, or online at Anvil Press.

This Day in Vancouver by Jesse Donaldson, Anvil Press

Since then, 4/20 movements have spread throughout the world. Vancouver’s iconic protest saw record breaking numbers of 25,000 supporters in 2016, and organizers continue to expect big crowds today. The event has moved from several different venues in the past (Victory Square, Vancouver Art Gallery) and now finds its temporary home at Sunset Beach. Although the annual pot rally has seen tremendous growth and there are federal plans to legalize the recreational drug, organizers say this still isn’t a celebration. The 4/20 event continues as a development and protest until legalization arrives. Only then, will become a celebration.

To learn more about revolutionary movements, come visit the Museum of Vancouver’s 1960s-1970s: You Say You Want A Revolution. The exhibition highlights Vancouver’s radial youth and time of contention.

Posted by: Nicki Merz on April 11, 2017 at 12:19 pm

No More Japanese Will Come Here,” reads a joyous headline on the front page of the Vancouver Daily Province.

An unidentified Japanese woman and boy, circa 1905. Image Courtesy of the Vancouver Archives (CVA 287-10)


The article quotes a message sent from the consul-general of Japan:

 “I cabled my Government two weeks ago, advising it to pursue its policy of restriction of emigration of Japanese to Canada… the Government of Japan was not desirous of forcing its emigrants into British Columbia.”

The cable continues, “that the people of British Columbia should stop agitating themselves over the immigration of Japanese labour and begin to exercise themselves over the possibilities of trade with the Orient”

 This excerpt was taken from the book This Day in Vancouver by Jesse Donaldson. This great read about our city’s history is available for purchase in the Gift Shop at the Museum of Vancouver, or online at Anvil Press.

Today, both Canada and Japan are partners in many international organizations (G7, G20, APEC, and ASEAN to name a few). With regular exchanges between parliamentarians, steadily expanding trade, growing economic relations, and newly established peace and security declarations, it’s clear to see how important the relationship is between these two countries. Canada is constantly committed to finding new opportunities to deepen the partnership with Japan.

Of course, early Canadians had yet to realize the full importance of trade at that time. One can only wonder what our great grandparents would have said about this, back in the day.

To learn more about Japanese History, visit the Museum of Vancouver’s 1930s-1940s: Boom, Bust, and War gallery. The exhibition highlights Japanese and Canadian relations during World War II.

Posted by: Anonymous on April 1, 2017 at 1:00 am

MOV crab removed in favour of new sculpture - Monolith 7.2

The Museum of Vancouver is pleased to announce that it has removed its crab sculpture and will soon replace it with a new piece of commissioned art for Vancouver. 

After reviewing a series of proposals the one that has been chosen by a panel of judges is Monolith 7.2 (see rendering below).

Museum of Vancouver will replace the crab sculture with this cube called Monlith 7.2

MOV's Executive Director Richard Mark declared, "this monumental sculpture whose squareness speaks to issues of deep significance for Vancouver will juxtapose the roundness of the building and the curviness of modern living."

Leading art critic Arthur Askey said, ‘this is a great day for Vancouver and marks the city’s clear commitment to move its approach to public art away from crabs and into square things’.

The Museum's Operations Director Gregorie Gregg insisted that the crab sculpture that has stood in front of the building for 50 years will not be wasted and will be recycled, in line with the city’s green initiative.

Congratulations for making it to the bottom of this post. By now you may have guessed that this is an April Fools Day gag.