If you’ve walked past a construction site in Vancouver lately, you might have spotted an unusual feature on the surrounding fence: an assortment of handmade posters, featuring imagery inspired by construction sites themselves. These are the work of Associate Professor and artist Diyan Achjadi, a product of her public art series Coming Soon!
Commissioned by the City of Vancouver’s Public Art Program, Coming Soon! was a year-long monthly poster series installed on construction sites in Railtown, Mount Pleasant, and Gastown. Coming Soon! explores “questions of value, temporality, and labour,” according to the project website.
Beginning in June 2018, a new series of poster editions was created each month by Diyan; these were wheat-pasted onto the temporary walls of various construction sites around the city. Each poster is made by hand in the Emily Carr Print Media Shop through a long, labour-intensive process.
The posters evoke the temporary nature of construction sites and draw attention to the constant evolution of our cityscape, and build a narrative between prints as well as locations. In this sense, they’re “a publication of sorts, distributed on city walls.” All editions can be viewed on the website.
Diyan grew up in Jakarta and spent most of her life in big cities. As someone who doesn’t drive, her experience of urban environments is formed through walking and transit. The relentless pace of development and gentrification in Vancouver, which is highly visible as a pedestrian, impacts her relationship and orientation to the city.
“Even though I’ve been here [in Vancouver] for 13 years, I still feel relatively new to the city because the markers keep changing,” she explains in a recent video. “The sense of where I am is always impacted by how a building or corner or street has changed.”
“When I think about the development happening in the city… so many people have been displaced by this gentrification. There’s a sense that there’s only a particular class of people that will be able to afford to live in these spaces.”
A video by Mark Mushet and Vancouver Review Media, released in May, explores the project in more detail:
The final edition of prints was created in May 2019, and Diyan is beginning work on a publication that will document the project cycle.
Her work can also be found in several current and upcoming exhibitions, including Mantle at the Evergreen Cultural Centre in Coquitlam (also featuring ECU alum and 2018 Emily Award winner Tsēmā Igharas); Disconnect at the Two Rivers Gallery in Prince George; Nature as Communities at the Dalhousie Art Gallery in Halifax, NS; and Women's Work at the Burnaby Art Gallery.
You can also see her work wrapped around a Translink bus in Vancouver as part of the How far do you travel? exhibition with the Contemporary Art Gallery.