In Partnership with the Vancouver Art Gallery

After three decades spent on the fringe of the cultural mainstream, Hamilton-born, Vancouver-based artist Jan Wade (b.1952) is receiving overdue acknowledgement for her unique contributions to Canadian art. Jan Wade: Soul Power—the landmark first solo exhibition by a Black woman in the Vancouver Art Gallery’s ninety-year history—presents the artist’s mixed-media assemblages, paintings, textiles, and sculptural objects from the 1990s to the present day. Central to Wade’s practice is the idea of political, spiritual, and social transformation. She vividly expresses this in a material sense through her repurposing of thrifted bric-a-brac, such as antique buttons, Scrabble tiles, and horseshoe charms. Her bold aesthetic is informed by her personal history as an African Canadian woman of mixed cultural heritage, with close ties to the American South, the Church, and jazz and blues music. Like visual poems, Wade’s works are richly layered with meaning, with every detail offering a profound story.


Visit this link to purchase a copy of the exhibition publication Jan Wade: Soul Power.


This online exhibition has been made possible through a partnership with the Vancouver Art Gallery, which organized the exhibition Jan Wade: Soul Power, on view from July 10, 2021 to March 13, 2022. Jan Wade: Soul Power is curated by Siobhan McCracken Nixon, Assistant Curator at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Nixon’s 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).


Banner image credit: Jan Wade, Spirit House (detail), 2021, courtesy of Jan Wade. Photo credit: Ian Lefebvre, Vancouver Art Gallery.

Artist image credit: Jan Wade, 2022, photograph by Thelonius Mthombeni.

  • Church and State

    Church and State 1990–2020

  • Church and State (detail)

    Church and State (detail) 1990–2020

  • Prophecy

    Prophecy 1993–2020

  • Self-Portrait

    Self-Portrait 2001

  • Spirit House

    Spirit House 2021

  • Breathe

    Breathe c.2004–20

  • Breathe (detail)

    Breathe (detail) c.2004–20

  • Memory Jug

    Memory Jug 2016

  • GI Jesus/War Is Over

    GI Jesus/War Is Over 2008

  • Epiphany

    Epiphany 1990–2021

  • Epiphany (detail)

    Epiphany (detail) 1990–2021

  • Aunt Jemima/Transformation

    Aunt Jemima/Transformation 2021

  • Run Obama Run

    Run Obama Run 2010/2021

  • Woman Talking to the Flower Spirit

    Woman Talking to the Flower Spirit 1993

  • Yes

    Yes 2016–20

  • Obamanation

    Obamanation 2009

  • Fishwoman

    Fishwoman 1996

  • Crowned

    Crowned 2021

  • Collage

    Collage 2021

  • Soul Power

    Soul Power 2021

More Online Exhibitions

Download Download