Thinking of the post-Game 7 riot in Vancouver last June evokes some revolting images: Burning cars, looted businesses and overwhelmed law enforcement officers facing off against creepily gleeful insurgents.
But the riot's aftermath spawned different kinds of lasting images: Ones that symbolized the confusion, regret, anger and defiance most people in the city felt in response to the criminal unrest.
Like, for example, how the boarded-up windows of businesses like The Bay were transformed into message boards covered in emotional missives from those affected by the riots.
Last week, the Museum of Vancouver took 15 of those window boards and created an exhibit around them, on the anniversary of the riot.
A year after the riot of June 15, 2011 — sparked by a Vancouver Canucks' Game 7 loss to the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup final — 15 of these boards are installed at the Museum of Vancouver. The exhibition, Reading the Riot Boards, adds to the canon of cultural response to riots in Vancouver, works which include theatre pieces and one of the city's most provocative works of public art.
"Great art happens where there's a real sense of a large question and a large feeling of mystery and a large question of 'Who are we?' " says playwright and director Amiel Gladstone. "And I think the riot happening in the middle of our city by our own citizens really raises all of those questions."
The MOV immediately recognized the importance of the so-called riot boards, seeking to acquire them for its collection within a week of the incident. "It was kind of a no brainer," says Hanna Cho, MOV's curator of engagement and dialogue. "It quickly became apparent that these would be really special, and part of Vancouver's history."
Here's a CTV report on some boards that are on display at Christ Church Cathedral in Vancouver.
Interesting juxtaposition between the window board messages demanding justice and the priest using them as a symbol of forgiveness.
Check out The Daily Brew for more remembrances from the riot, and what's changed in the last year.