Real, raw, & relatable me. Enthusiastic food & lifestyle blogger living in Vancouver, BC!

Category: art

Van Science Social 2019

Today I was invited to a behind the scenes look at some of Vancouver’s inspiring science hubs. We were going on a field trip to meet scientists and innovators from across the province. This was done with the goal of connecting social media and its audiences with the “wonderful and nerdy world of science!” This is the “Van Science Social”.

This year’s theme was the “future”, in celebration of Science World’s 30th anniversary. The occasion had us looking to the future, with the belief that it all is rooted in nature (pun intended). This trip included a stop at Vancouver’s oldest research garden, an urban nature exhibit; and Science World’s own feature exhibition, that looks at mathematics in nature.

Our day began at Science World, where we were given a warm welcome and a light up umbrella, that would protect us from today’s downpour. We heard about the future of Science World and what they do in and out of their location, to help propel the advancement of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics). Science World President and CEO, Scott Samson spoke passionately about giving kids located in the outskirts of our province, the same learning opportunities as those whose parents own a Science World membership. He gave us impressive statistics on how many they currently reach and teach outside of their dome.

Then like school children we funnelled into a tour trolley, enroute to our first destination: UBC’s botanical garden, the oldest research garden in BC. Here, we would learn what is available and growing in our own back yard.

We dawned recyclable ponchos and walked the garden grounds to sprinkling rain. And in groups, we got a taste of the team building activities they offer as workshops. Trust games and collaborative challenges requiring communication in this serene setting.

But UBC’s botanical garden is more than a pretty place to take a walk in. These grounds are home to many documented plants from around the world. And the garden serves as a platform for conservation and research efforts. This living museum has each plant and tree life tagged with a number, and logged into their database. It is recorded when the plant material becomes part of the collection and where it originated from; all with new species and varieties being added regularly. This is done through research expeditions, and in conjunction with other botanical gardens around the world. Done in hopes of building pockets of biodiversity, where green life flourishes in their natural habitat. “Biodiversity” is taking plants out in the world and protecting them in another spot. These gardens share seeds and help one another collect samples, to have as many back-ups for plant material as possible.

The garden also hosts an original cutting of the “golden spruce”. A famous tree (with its own book) that has great significance to indigenous communities. A cutting of it has flourished to an full fledged tree, and it is interesting to note that because it is growing in a different climate, it is adapting to its new environment and is no longer golden in hue.

In total there were over 30 thousand different plants, with many varieties I have never seen prior to today. And we didn’t even get to explore the full extent of the garden, like their Asian plant garden and mountain plant section. I will have to come back to do just that.

Our tour continued with their “Power up in the trees”, tree walk. Here, we traversed a storey off the ground; hanging on to a wobbly, but incredibly sturdy arial trail system. Made from aluminum, it is built with sustainability in mind. Giving tour opportunities, without having to disrupt nature.

Nine platforms on tree towers have you circling the open garden. Eventually it does descend and you wobble back down to the ground.

We concluded the outdoor portion of our time at UBC, enjoying a nice healthy lunch of mixed greens, wild rice, and oceanwise salmon in a butter sauce.

As we finished up, we heard from Science World’s marketing team and our hosts for the day. They spoke to their initiatives to further adult attendance at the dome. Not just parents with their kids, but adults to visit on their own. There are plans on utilizing the IMAX theatre more, as the world’s largest dome theatre. With plans to digitized it so that they can broadcast programming that speaks more to current events and society’s issues. To invite guests to come and learn, then use their planned forum space to discuss and enact.

Then it was back onto the trolley for stop number two on this year’s Van Science Social field trip.

We arrived at the Vancouver Museum, located in Vanier Park. Most noticeable as the building shapes like a Haida hat. This is Canada’s oldest civic museum. They are in the business of telling stories, and today we were here to hear the ones regarding interactions between wild animals and people. A retelling shared through writing and taxidermy in the showcase, “Wild Things”. And we were lucky enough to have the curator of the exhibition giving us the tour.

There is a room that simulated the sounds and feeling of rain. Like a walk in the wet woods, with a crawl through entry. Here you rested on beanbag chairs and listened to the water dripping and pooling, watching projected droplets drip on to a tarp. This was my favourite.

The next room featured salmon printed on acetate sheets, “swimming” with the help of fans.

The owl room was the curator’s personal encounter with an owl. Her experience written and simulated for all to share. You walk into a dark room and up to a lit screen, only to realize it is you that you are seeing on it. Then you look in the camera’s direction, only to be caught off guard by the owl perched above. This, a very similar sensation to what the author felt.

The deer room was the most memorable, a curated table that featured an elk as the guest of honour, with more elks on the printed wall paper and table cloth to match. This story spoke to traditional deer hunting practices and being thankful for the animal, cleaning it and sharing it with an entire village. Every part is used and nothing goes to waste.

The bird wall was for climbing. You perch yourself at various points and peep through holes to catch glimpses of feathered fowl.

And the remainder of the exhibit was a collection of taxidermy animals accounting for all the wild life that can be seen in our urban city; as well as a map with flags indicating where they were spotted.

We also had the opportunity to explore the other exhibits that was currently running. Like “Neon Vancouver, Ugly Vancouver”, recapping Vancouver’s history through glowing lights on billboards and awning signs.

And “Haida Now”, showcasing 450 artifacts from Haida Gwaii.

The series of children’s art collected from an Indian residential and day school was heart wrenching. I took the time to process what I saw. Taking advantage of the quiet space the museum provided, for those with as strong of a reaction as I had. Out of respect for the subject material I have not taken any photos, but instead encourage you to read their stories for yourself.

And of course the history of Vancouver told through artifacts in their permanent exhibit. This was a story of expansion and immigration told through every day objects and clothes long forgotten.

Then it was back on to the trolley for our last ride.

Here, we were transported to Science World and given free time to experience “Exploration of Numbers in Nature: A Mirror Maze exhibition”. I have actually been to the maze previously, so will defer to my original post below, but include a few new photos for your digestion.

The Mirror Maze at Science World


And then our full day ended with a reception, where we nibbled on catered bites and sipped on wine and beer. Cured meats and hard cheeses with crackers, spring roll bundles, miniature burgers and quiches, and chicken salad tarts.

But the feature was the celebratory cake. A two tiered work of chocolate and cream, sculpted to look like Science World’s dome in fondant. What a way to remember its past and look towards its future. And I am personally looking forward to the more adult themed reasons to visit the city’s most iconic dome.

Thank you Van Science Social for sending me on this field trip. I forgot the joys of missing “school” (work) for the day, in lieu of learning a different way.

Vancouver Opera Festival launch: VOX

Today I was invited down to Queen Elizabeth Theatre for the launch of the 3rd annual Vancouver Opera Festival, and 1st annual singing competition: VOX. Many young singers across Canada auditioned, and they managed to dwindle this number down to eight to compete. Eight future opera stars from across the country, competing for cash prizes and recognition on Vancouver’s large stage. A decision as voted by six judges and the entire audience. A panel of esteemed judges chaired by Music Director Emeritus, Jonathan Darlington. And we, the live audience voting for our favourite singer.

Attendees gathered prior to the show for a cocktail reception. The bar poured glasses of sparkling non stop. A pop and a fizz to get the night flowing.

You couldn’t bring glassware into the auditorium, but beer or wine in plastic sippy cups were fine.

And to keep you balanced, servers offered up small bites on slate trays. Like this tomato bruschetta on a crostini.

Seared tuna on crispy wonton skin.

And chocolate covered strawberries in milk and white chocolate.

Then when 6:30pm neared, we were invited into the auditorium for the live competition. Where I got my first taste of live opera and the ability to live out my “America’s Got Talent” dream as a judge.

The first performance got the pace going. Shantelle Przybylo was energetic and welcoming in her singing.

By comparison Amanda Perera was soft spoken. Her voice didn’t project the same and I couldn’t properly take her range in. But she was stunning, and great to watch; with her body motions matching the intensity of the effort she put into her singing.

I like having a male voice next for contrast: Ryan Nauta was mellow and smooth, and he sang us a smoothing ballad.

Joé Lampron-Dandonneau was another male voice, giving us a Tenor with more range.

Ana Toumine was a Soprano with powerful vocals. Though that broadcast came at a cost. You could hear the quick breaths and at points her being out of breath. She also showed off her ability with plenty of high to low notes in her choice of music. It was certainly interesting to listen to.

Sarah Bissonnette, a Mezzo, sang the happiest of all the tunes. It was upbeat and loud to start, really drawing you in. And the humorous gestures and quirky quips in piece kept you wanting more. She also choose the best song to showcase her skillful voice manipulation, and proved that the choice of song can determine a win.


Elizabeth Harris, a Soprano, too choose a difficult song. This one also showcased her ability to hit high peaks and low dips. Like her out reaches arms, her voice called you and pulled you in. Her mystical melody make me think of the ones mermaids would call out. Especially when the accompanying piano stopped playing and only her voice rung out through the hall.

Our last performer, Zainen Suzuki was a Baritone. I enjoyed how animated his facial expression were. They brought me into the story he was telling. And the audience gave him the loudest clap for it.

Next came time for us to vote, using hand held remotes, we keyed in our pick by number.

And while the judges deliberated we were serenade by Vancouver’s own Erin Wall, Canada’s leading opera singer. She melted so much through her facial expression and hand movements, that she had to stabilize herself against the Stanley and sons piano.

In the end Elizabeth Harris won third place. Second went to Ana Toumine. And for both first place and people’s choice, the win went to Sarah Bissonnette. Winning $5k and $2.5k respectively.

This was just the beginning of the night, as Vancouver opera’s signature fundraising event. A handful of attendees also purchased dinner tickets that began when the competition ended, and the curtains on stage lifted to reveal a banquet hall set to serve.

In short, this was a very nice way to kick start Vancouver’s Opera Festival, a taste of what to expect, leaving you wanting more. For all other showings and all opera fest events, and how to get your tickets, visit the link below soon to not miss out. This year’s theme is fables and fairytales, as told through visual, musical and theatrical arts.

Vancouver Opera Festival creates extraordinary experiences that redefine opera. Running from April 27 to May 5, the annual festival features nine days of operas, concerts, and free events. Explore #VOFest and buy tickets at

Guo Pei: Couture Beyond Exhibition

There is a new show on at the Vancouver Art Gallery, it is now available for viewing during regular museum hours. From October of 2018 to Sunday, January 20, 2019 you can come down to see the “Guo Pei: Couture Beyond Exhibition”. This show is ideal for those who love fashion and see it as wearable art, but also great for anyone who appreciates a craft and the workmanship that goes into perfecting it.

Here, Guo Pei shows off her craft against forest green walls with golden trim. She is best known for bringing China’s “rich aesthetic tradition together with modern sensibilities”. And she is the only Chinese national designer to be invited to present her collections at Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week.

The gallery has built corridors, erected stages, and reconstructed the museum’s first floor with ballroom spacing, all to give you the full experience of grandeur. A grand setting befitting of Guo Pei’s designs from over the past 10 years.

This exhibition showcases more than 40 of Guo Pei’s designs spanning from her early collections: Samsara (2006), An Amazing Journey in a Childhood Dream (2008), and 1002 Nights (2010).

With sequins, embroidery, metal spikes, and tassels. Each article of clothing spoke to her skill and attention of detail.

Each stitch, each pleat, each fold; going in for a closer look gave you a new found appreciation for each costume.

The jewelry and the footwear were just as elaborate, rounding out the look. And the occasional cape, head piece, and purse gave me accessories envy.

One of my favourite parts of this show was the lead in, at the Gallery’s rotunda. Five mannequins collectively represented Guo Pei’s 2015 MAC Cosmetics collaboration. They were fun and funky, and the only mannequins with hair coiffed to match the wearable art they dawned.

I also liked her wedding dress design with matching cowl and arm warmers. A dress-suit with strings of pearls and signs of double happiness down the front like buttons. And the matching gold number with puffed sleeves, a double happiness necklace, and a much shorter hem. The second would be the dress you changed into after the wedding ceremony has commenced.

One of the most highly anticipated designs was the golden yellow gown Rihanna wore during the 2015’s Met Gala. Its sunny shade stole the show with the trailing cape pooling behind it, as the centre piece.

The most highly appreciated dress was the blue and white gown that mimicked porcelain. To make the inspiration clear, the head piece featured a whole vase atop the model’s heads. This was a dress Guo Pei herself must love, given it is currently used as her Instagram profile photo.

I won’t go into the details of each dress, instead I will include a few of the photos I liked and a few of the dresses I loved. Although, I warn you that my photos really don’t do the show justice. Instead I urge you to visit the Vancouver Art Gallery for yourself, to take in the experience with the perfect lighting, and to take your own photographic memories. We visited on a Tuesday, when entry is by donation, but I would recommend stopping by at a slower day and time, to be able to take this in fully at your peace and leisure.

And while you are there, be sure to check out another new exhibit, one highlighting Dana Claxton’s work. She is a local native artist, and admission to her showcase is included in your entry fee. Her art is her way of helping native identities get noticed.

Sketches, carved masks, head dresses, and photos; she makes her a point across many mediums in many angles.


Vancouver Art Gallery
750 Hornby Street, Vancouver BC, V6Z 2H7

Fleurs de Villes, Spring 2018 Mannequin Series

April showers brings May flowers, all the way to Metropolis at Metrotown. Spring 2018 Mannequin Series Cross Canada Tour

This is the “Fleurs de Villes” (flowers of the cities) exhibition. As their name surmises they are a traveling show, moving across Canada to showcase flowers in a new and creative way. This is the second year they have stopped in Vancouver, specifically Burnaby’s Metrotown. The show is different from city to city as they work with local florists, designers, growers and nurseries, “to showcase that city’s world-class talent and create stunning displays of art”. The goal: to create fashion from florals, with the help of sponsor brands, traditional national media, as well as community-based groups.

Today I was given a first look at the exhibition in its entirety, during their launch party. Local florist have been working all morning to craft their vision from fresh cuts, fine greenery, and their imagination. So to come the evening of and see them all erected in their colouful glory is quite the spectacle. Even more so when in the company of like minds who appreciate the beauty coupled with their scents.

For those interested in viewing this art exhibition for yourself, be sure to do so between Thursday May 2nd to the 6th, 2018. The limited time frame reflects the limited lifespan of a blossom once it has been plucked, and naturally nothing lasts for ever. If you won’t be able to make it down or missed it, check out my photos below for the highlights.

Here, I apologize for not being able to fully give credit to each sponsor and florist that came together to make their work of art a reality, but please enjoy each of the photos I have taken then head to the “Fleurs de Villes” website to learn more.

And what’s a night of celebration without some drinks and light snacks. The following canapés were prepared by “Culinary Capers Catering”

Pull pork medallions.

Spicy chicken spring rolls with passion fruit dipping.

Dungeness crab crepe purse.

Passion fruit and cheese crackers.

Lime macarons.

Chocolate sugar cookie with cream filling.

Pineapple coconut bites.

There were also booths handing out samples, like “The Face Shop” sharing their Korean beauty products and “Viktor and Rolf” spritzing their “flower bomb” fragrance, that matched with tonight’s theme.

Overall a great night and a great show. I definitely recommend swinging by if you are in the area or running errands around the mall. And best of all the exhibition is completely free!






Takashi Murakami at the Vancouver Art Gallery

Takashi Murakami’s the Octopus eats its own leg exhibition.


I don’t pretend to know art. Not often am I able to understand the meaning of a piece behind what I see in its texture and colour. I appreciate the time it takes to create something from nothing, and the love and passion an artist puts forth into it. I can imagine myself in their shoes, but not begin to imagine what that creative process and completion climax must feel like. So sadly and ashamedly I appreciate art more for superficial reasons.

When I see something, I know I love it when I want to capture it on “film”. To be able to have a part of it and keep it longer in my memory through a photo. And for that very reason I knew Takashi Murakami’s work spoke to me. Not to mention I was already familiar with him through his pop culture references. His smiling daisies have iconically graced Louis Vuitton handbags that I have coveted in my youth. And his hip hop teddy bear sky-rocketed off on the cover of one of my favourite Kayne West albums: “Graduation”.

So when Vancouver Art Gallery’s latest exhibit featuring his work opened this February, I made plans to visit. I scheduled this visit on a weekday afternoon, hoping to avoid a busier time, and a crowd of like mind people, I knew would follow this trend. I could only imagine all the young females dressed up and working to achieve their best selfie to date, using Murakami’s work as wallpaper. Sadly for me, Monday at 3pm was not it. But I made it work, to capture photos for this post and a video too.

To see a walking tour of the exhibit and get excited to come down yourself, click on the link. And continue watching to check out the Murakami inspired dinner I enjoyed at “Market by jean-georges”.


“Takashi Murakami is a Japanese contemporary artist. He works in fine arts media as well as commercial media and is known for blurring the line between high and low arts” (as taken off wikipedia). “The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg” is the first ever major retrospective of his work in Canada. His show runs at the Vancouver Art Gallery from February 3rd to May 6th, 2018. Admission is $25 per person.

During the unveiling of this showcase in Vancouver, he has been photographed with wavy hair at the length of his beard, round spectacles and a suit coat with matching shorts as colourful as his work. And to finish his look off, he dawned a complementary coloured plush octopus crafted into a hat, on his head. What a fun representation of what this exhibit and he is all about!

I won’t be reviewing anything within the museum, as I already admitted that this is not my forte, nor would I pretend to know the difference between a high or low light. But what I can offer are some photos that spoke to me and my overall impression.

Walking in, the foyer of the gallery’s grand staircase is already fairly impressive, but add on an erected Murakami phallus with intricate carvings and a multitude of splatter and graffiti, this sight is awe-inspiring from any angle. And worry not, as the show’s name promises, there were plenty of octopi and their tentacles throughout the showing.

The colours used and the detail given in his work as a whole, exuded energy. You couldn’t help but smile when you saw all the cartoonish faces starting back at you.

And to light up when surrounded by a whole horde of them, even if they were leaning more on the monstrous side.

And for those wondering, everything was picture worthy, and every surface an ideal backdrop for a photo.


TAKASHI MURAKAMI: The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg
Vancouver Art Gallery
750 Hornby Street, Vancouver BC, V6Z 2H7


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