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Jan Wade: Soul Power

Deanna Bowen, Wayde Compton, Daina Augaitis, Siobhan McCracken Nixon
Layflat Binding
170 x 120mm
Spring 2022

Jan Wade: Soul Power accompanies the highly-anticipated exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery (July 10, 2021 to March 13, 2022). The exhibition is a survey of Vancouver artist Jan Wade’s rich body of work from the 1990s to the present. Jan Wade: Soul Power marks the first solo exhibition by a Black female artist in the 90-year history of the Gallery. The book both honours and documents her compelling but underrecognized practice, which reflects her lived experience as an African Canadian person of mixed cultural heritage.

Comprising mixed media assemblages, paintings, sculptural pieces and textiles made from found or ready-made objects and recycled materials, her art explores the places and practices of her ancestors alongside contemporary political concerns and social movements such as Black Lives Matter. The book will serve as an important resource and record of her more than three decade career. Featuring new photography of works in the exhibition, scholarly essays by prominent artist Deanna Bowen and writer Wayde Compton, and Wade’s own writings, the publication will reveal her important contribution to the history of art making in Vancouver and redress her place in contemporary Canadian art.

  1. Jan Wade

    was born in 1952 in Hamilton, Ontario, to a Black Canadian father with familial origins in the American South and a Canadian mother of European descent. Raised in a relatively segregated but close-knit Black community within the city, her formative years were heavily influenced by her local African Methodist Episcopal Church. She was also greatly influenced by Southern US Black culture and aesthetics from the perspectives of her paternal grandmother and great-grandmother. Wade studied at the Ontario College of Art and Design (1972–76). She moved to Vancouver in 1983 and became part of the underground art and music scene in the city, with its innovative performances, do-it-yourself art shows, anti-establishment ethos and spontaneous happenings. During this period Wade began her research into African diasporic spiritual practices and decided she wanted her art to reflect where she came from and who she is, commencing her unique artistic journey marked by self-sufficiency, empowerment, hope and radical joy. The artist produces a wide range of mixed-media works made entirely from found or readymade objects and recycled materials.

  2. Deanna Bowen

    Deanna Bowen is a descendant of two Alabama and Kentucky born Black Prairie pioneer families from Amber Valley and Campsie, Alberta. Bowen’s family history has been the central pivot of her auto-ethnographic works since the early 1990s. She makes use of a repertoire of artistic gestures in order to define the Black body and trace its presence and movement in place and time. Recently, her work has involved close examination of her family’s migration and their connections to Vancouver’s Hogan’s Alley and Black Strathcona, the “All-Black” towns of Oklahoma, the Kansas Exoduster migrations and the Ku Klux Klan in Canada and the US. She is a recipient of numerous accolades including a 2020 Governor General Award for Visual and Media Arts and the 2021 Scotiabank Photography Award. Her writing, interviews and art have been published in Canadian Art, The Capilano Review, The Black Prairie Archives and Transition Magazine.

  3. Wayde Compton

    is the author of 49th Parallel Psalm, a finalist for the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize; Performance Bond; After Canaan: Essays on Race Writing and Region, which was nominated for a City of Vancouver Book Award; and The Outer Harbour: Stories. He also edited the anthology Bluesprint: Black British Columbian Literature and Orature. He is a co-founder of the Hogan’s Alley Memorial Project, an organization that has collaborated on multiple projects intent on preserving the public memory of Vancouver’s original Black community. Compton is the former director of the creative writing program at SFU Continuing Studies and is now teaching Creative Writing at Douglas College in New Westminster, BC.

  4. Daina Augaitis

    was Chief Curator/Associate Director at the Vancouver Art Gallery from 1996–2017 leading a team of curators to conceive and develop the Gallery’s exhibitions, publications, collections and public programs. Among the over 30 exhibitions she curated or co-curated were solo projects of Rebecca Belmore, Douglas Coupland, Stan Douglas, Charles Edenshaw, Geoffrey Farmer, Kimsooja, Muntadas, Brian Jungen, Ian Wallace, Gillian Wearing and Zhu Jinshi. She was formerly Director of Visual Arts at the Banff Centre for the Arts, where she organized thematic residencies as well as spoken word, pirate radio and performance art projects, and has held curatorial positions at Walter Phillips Gallery, Banff; Western Front, Vancouver; Convertible Showroom, Vancouver; and Franklin Furnace, New York.

  5. Siobhan McCracken Nixon

    is currently Assistant Curator at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Recent exhibition projects include Where do we go from here?; Transits and Returns; Mowry Baden; and Dana Claxton: Fringing the Cube. Previously she worked as Assistant Curator at the Hayward Gallery (London, UK) where she organized exhibitions including Alternative Guide to the Universe; Art of Change: New Directions from China; Pipilotti Rist: Eyeball Massage; Move: Choreographing You; Annette Messager: The Messengers; and Psycho Buildings: Artists Take on Architecture. She previously worked in Exhibitions and Displays at Tate Britain (London, UK).

Co-published with the Vancouver Art Gallery.

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  1. Jan Wade: Soul Power
    $35 $28


    The first monograph to explore Wade's work in rich detail with texts by artist Deanna Bowen and author Wayde Compton. A portion of each pre-sale will be donated to Hogan's Alley Society, a non-profit organization committed to the preservation and promotion of Black history and society in Vancouver, Canada. More info at

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