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David Lam: “Last Cycle of the Sockeye"

Seymour Art Gallery,
North Vancouver, Oct 10 – Nov 10

David Lam: Last Cycle of the Sockeye
David Lam, The Last Cycle of the Sockeye (2002), mixed media installation [Seymour Art Gallery, North Vancouver, BC, Oct 10-Nov 10]

A NOVEL INSTALLATION by painter David Lam at the Seymour Art Gallery in North Vancouver includes 70 fish, each 20 inches in length, swimming in a semi-circle on the floor accompanied by large-scale realistic landscape paintings of the Adams River, a tributary of the Fraser River, and a major spawning ground of the sockeye salmon. Special lighting effects and music enhance the display.

Each hand-fired clay fish is painted to represent the final stages in the life of the sockeye salmon. The Thirty bright-red salmon depict the scarred survivors who swam to their final destination. The remainder are painted white to indicate the spirits of those who perished in the struggle. The ratio of 30 to 40 represents the actual survival rate of the salmon that swim the treacherous waters of the Fraser River from its mouth near Vancouver to the Adams River east of Kamloops to spawn. Lam hopes this body of work will inspire and motivate others, as it has him, to be vigilant in guarding this endangered species.

David Lam is a Vancouver artist who emigrated from Hong Kong with his family in 1965. Like the spawning salmon, Lam sees himself entering a senior cycle in his own artwork. Lam has explored many artistic mediums – from ceramic sculpture and paper casting to lithography, drawing and painting. Like the courageous and determined salmon, he too has struggled in that he has spent 50 years of his life working in the visual arts – no small undertaking.

© Mia Johnson


 Tue, Sep 3, 2002