Surrey artist and instructor plays with reality in photographs (May 14, Surrey Art Gallery)


Paulo Majano: I Was Here
Artist Talk: May 14 | 2:30−4PM

Surrey artist and Kwantlen Polytechnic University instructor Paulo Majano is no stranger to digital art. On May 14 from 2:30 to 4pm, he will speak in conversation with exhibition curator Brian Foreman about his latest project I Was Here, currently on view at the Surrey Art Gallery.

Using an augmented reality app by Aurasma, I Was Here transforms photographs of people enjoying outdoor spaces in Surrey and the surrounding area into surprising 3D scenes that invite the viewer to interact with the people and objects in them. Majano says, “In my current projects, I make use of augmented reality and time based media to create images and installations where the virtual and the physical can be experienced simultaneously.”

Majano captures commonplace scenes of people enjoying recreation time. Each photograph contains a hidden image. When the viewer holds up a smartphone or tablet to it using an augmented reality application, a 3D scene appears showing new details and angles. Through this additional visual information, Majano’s complex images offer new narratives and layers of meaning.

Viewers can interact with the scene and reframe the composition from different points of view, or they can move in for a closer look or glance behind objects to discover elements not initially visible in the original photo. Ironically, since the viewer must move around the photograph to fully see it, this virtual medium create the potential for active, physical interactions.

Paulo Majano, The Joke (2014).

 I Was Here is on exhibit at the Surrey Art Gallery until June 12, 2016. It is presented as part of Capture Photography Festival.


Paulo Majano is an artist and art educator working in the Vancouver area. He has an MFA from the University of British Columbia and is an Augmented Reality Developer. Born in El Salvador and having grown up in places as varied as Mexico City, New York, Texas, and Montreal, he is drawn to investigate how the individual’s subjective, personal, and local experience finds expression within the shared conventions and structures of the urban environment.

Paulo Majano, The Picnic Party (2014) with the latent image shown on an iPad.
Paulo Majano, The Picnic Party (2014) with the latent image shown on an iPad.

For the past decade, he has produced exhibitions and projects merging a figurative approach, based on his background as a painter, with technology-based forms of presentation and interaction. He has received awards for a wide range of media including the E. Greenshield Award for Figurative Art and Canada Council Production Grants for Photography and Media Art.

In 2012, his drawing and augmented reality work, “The Living Room – here & (t)here,” which allowed viewers to virtually stand inside the drawing of his living room using augmented reality, was part of the exhibition Drawing: Expanded Medium at Evergreen Cultural Centre in Coquitlam, BC. Visit his website.

Paulo Majano, The Carved Tree—Campbell Valley (2014).
Paulo Majano, The Carved Tree—Campbell Valley (2014).

Surrey Art Gallery gratefully acknowledges the financial assistance of the City of Surrey, BC Arts Council, Canada Council for the Arts, and the Surrey Art Gallery Association.

Surrey Art Gallery is located at 13750-88 Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada. 604-501-5566 |

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