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Visual artist Tafui collaborates with Vancouver Art Gallery to launch special edition print

The bold black and white patterns that adorn many of Tafui's artworks and designs are a form of storytelling through repetition and the arrangement of symbols as inspired by precolonial textile techniques and mark making.

The Vancouver Art Gallery is excited to announce the release of a new special edition print by Canadian visual artist and multidisciplinary designer Tafui. Sold exclusively through the Vancouver Art Gallery Store, the funds generated through the sales of the print will be shared between the Hugh R. McLean Bursary at OCAD University and education programming at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

The bold black and white patterns that adorn many of Tafui's artworks and designs are a form of storytelling through repetition and the arrangement of symbols as inspired by precolonial textile techniques and mark making. Patois (2020) is a detail from Tafui’s hand-painted mural currently on view at the Gallery in the exhibition Where do we go from here?. The work pays homage to mud cloth storytelling, or bògòlanfini, an important textile technique of the Bambara people of West Africa.

“In honour of my late father Hugh R. McLean's life, I wanted to pass on one of the most valuable gifts he gave me: education,” shared Tafui. “Art education gave me the structure and foundation to my life and exposure to a culture that I might not have experienced. Even though my dad was not a wealthy man, he did his best to remove all restrictions from my dreams and aspirations. Based on my experience as an international student, I know many students might not have the support system to pursue a career in the arts. With this knowledge, I teamed up with the Vancouver Art Gallery to fundraise, through the sales of a print, to support Black students studying at OCAD University. The idea is for the selected students to have the available space and support needed to explore their identities and vision.”

“We are so honored that Tafui has chosen OCAD U as the place to honour the legacy of her father, Hugh R.McLean,” said Dr. Elizabeth (Dori) Tunstall, Dean of Design at OCAD University. “She is creating opportunities for more Black young people to come to OCAD U and study in the creative fields. It shows us how ourcommitment to the Black communities through our Black Cluster Hire and the Black Youth Design Initiative comes back to us directly in community love and support.”

“In Tafui’s artwork Patois, the marks convey a sense of interconnectedness. By working together, we were able to launch this fundraiser and now the public can also participate and make a difference,” said Diana Freundl, Interim Chief Curator at the Vancouver Art Gallery. “Tafui’s mural on the wall of the Gallery is ephemeral but a detail of it will live on in a thousand households and support the education of a futureartist."

“By starting this bursary I also wanted to challenge the notion that charity is not only for the wealthy or retired folks.” adds Tafui. “I am a strong believer in community and by making the work affordable and accessible a lot more people will be able to contribute.”

The special edition prints are available in the following formats:

  • Framed: 16” x 20”, $285 CAD plus applicable taxes
  • Unframed: 11” x 14”, $85 CAD plus applicable taxes

For more information, please visit the Vancouver Art Gallery Store.