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Contemporary Art Gallery

555 Nelson Street
Vancouver, Canada
Closed for installation
until June 7, 2024

Admission always free
15 Apr 16until31 Aug 16

Jérôme Havre


Offsite at Yaletown-Roundhouse Station

A faded photograph of a family of six standing in front of a car. White mask-like shapes have been painted over their faces.

Jérôme Havre, Untitled, 2010. Courtesy the artist.

The Contemporary Art Gallery presents a new commission by Jérôme Havre, the artist’s first project in Vancouver. Originally from France, Havre’s work considers representation, circulation, transmission and translation of black identities, interrogating racialized stereotypes and ideologies projected onto bodies.

Drawing directly onto a found family portrait, Untitled (2010) is a blunt gesture. The image depicts a family posed against a vintage car in a tropical landscape, its warm hues of analog colour giving entry to a past generation. Havre disrupts the scene, scrawling doodles of mask-like forms in white-out directly onto each family member’s face, erasing identity and subjectivity, reforming these physical bodies as alien figures.

Masks are objects held in high esteem in western culture. Through centuries of colonial violence and capitalist extraction these specific objects sit in private and museum collections around the world detached from the action, ritual, communities and physical bodies that they were made for. Disembodied heads without voice, these masked bodies are “stilled,” re-contextualized as stand-ins to represent otherness, here a reflection on western perceptions of blackness.

This offsite exhibition is presented in partnership with Capture Photography Festival.


Jérôme Havre lives and works in Toronto having completed his studies at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Since 2001 he has exhibited in Europe, Africa and North America. Recent exhibitions include Talking Back, Otherwise, Art Museum, University of Toronto (2015); Paradis: La fabrique de l’image, 14N 61W, Martinique (2015) and Land Marks, Peterborough Art Gallery (2015). Havre is currently artist in residence at the Art Gallery of Ontario.