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Monster: Not Just Another Film About South Asian Gang Violence In Surrey

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inderveer sodhi, monster, film, surrey, gang violence, surrey604, taslim jaffer writer

This is not your typical film about a South Asian teen involved in a Surrey gang.

In fact, this isn’t your typical film at all.

One conversation with filmmaker and actor Inderveer Sodhi, who created Monster, will turn every stereotype you have on its head. Sodhi describes Monster as a “socially-relevant story and burning cause that our community should be aware of. Often throughout the years, many filmmakers have attempted to tell these stories but unfortunately do not do justice to the depiction of South Asian culture, the lifestyle of first generation teenagers and their immigrant parents, and the city. Worst of all is the glamorization of the violence and abuse involved in these issues.”

Sodhi’s primary motivation in creating this work was to give the community the whole story – why and how people end up in this life or on the front page of the paper. Having grown up with many labels himself, Sodhi says he can relate to the those in his city who are also stereotyped and misunderstood. “I wanted to make a film that would make people cry for someone they wouldn’t necessarily cry for.”

He goes on to say, “Not only does this film completely illustrate the real lives of Surrey teens, it also encompasses the audience into the real world lifestyle of most teenagers today, with the incorporation of social media, music and culture, as well as the religious and personal growth aspects to the current gang violence issue. This film focuses on the teenagers who have just freshly graduated out of high school and become victims of circumstance, the script follows these characters in environments hidden from the public and also hidden in plain sight.

We didn’t want to create a documentary, rather the film brings the audience into a visceral experience by following our main character and his friends in an hour of their night to bring you to a place where most of us don’t go or know about. An examination of their deeper personal emotions not visible to the public. This film is written as a coming-of-age gangster drama.”

Get your first impression of Monster – set to come out in 2019 –  here (coarse language is used).

Sodhi’s cast is a great mix of professional actors, models and people whose personal life merges well with the characters in the story. His crew are all professionals in the industry. His team means everything to him. “I’ve grown up with a lot of problems and adversity. I had a lot of hardships to face to get to this point. What kept me going was I always wanted to have a feeling of family. This team emanates family. It’s another personal motivation for making a film.”

When asked about the response his idea has received from his peers, Sodhi said that one of the words that many people used to describe Monster was “authentic.”

What are your thoughts after viewing the video above? Be part of the conversation on social media with #monster2019 and follow Sodhi on Twitter and Instagram @inderveersodhi. You can also join the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/ monster2019/ and stay posted on the 2019 release date.

Learn more about supporting this local artist and his powerful message about teen life in Surrey.

Taslim combines her love of writing and social change by telling the stories that build bridges among people. Her motivating forces are her 3 children and her INFJ personality. Taslim is a regular contributor to Huffington Post Canada and Yummy Mummy Club, and a columnist for Peace Arch News. She has romantic notions of travel writing across European countrysides and historic African towns but her heart belongs to Surrey, B.C. You can connect with Taslim on Twitter and Instagram @taslimjaffer.

Arts and Entertainment

Surrey-Born Photographer Tanisha Dosanjh Into The World Of Professional Photography

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Pictures are worth a thousand words…

… but memories shouldn’t cost an arm and leg – those are the sentiments of Surrey-born photographer Tanisha Dosanjh. An established photographer with experience shooting portraits, consumer products, real estate, and events, Dosanjh’s favourite subjects to shoot are candid portraits. You can view a sample of her work here.

She recalls that when she was growing up, somehow she would be the one holding the camera for her family, but it wasn’t until she started working at Staples in her teen years did she consider taking up photography as a serious hobby – passing the cameras everyday, her interest began to peak and she bought her first camera with the desire to learn to shoot in manual mode.

Self-taught, she perused YouTube and spent many, many hours practicing – the first photo she published to social media was a stack of Christmas presents under her tree, and after many more hours of practice and posting on social media, her work caught the eye of a family friend, who asked her to shoot her son’s birthday party. This was Dosanjh’s first ‘big break’ into the world of professional photography.

Now, five years into her photography career, and expanding into the commercial sector, Tanisha continues to find the most joy in shooting portraits, bringing her back to the fond memories of being the “family photographer”.

While the trend nowadays seems to be shelling out big bucks to capture all the varieties of life’s milestones, she doesn’t feel that memories should cost a fortune, sometimes finding it hard to put a price on capturing these special moments.

With our current Covid-“norm” lives, many rely on photos of their loved ones to feel comforted and remain feeling connected to their families. If you find yourself wanting to capture some of your family’s milestones during these Covid times, reach out to Tanisha and she may be able to help coordinate a socially distanced photo-shoot, so you can still share with those you can’t see now.

She can be reached at – tdosanjh_photography@yahoo.com;
or through Instagram: @tanishadosanjhphotography

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Experience The Real Mandrake The Magician At Museum Of Surrey

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New exhibit celebrates life of world-famous magician with Surrey roots

Surrey, BC – The Real Mandrake the Magician is set to appear in the Museum of Surrey’s Community Treasures exhibit space Feb. 17 to May 16, featuring the legendary career of the late Leon Mandrake.

The world-renowned magician, mentalist, illusionist, escapologist, ventriloquist, and stunt performer with Surrey roots, is survived by his son, Lon, also a local magician. Lon has teamed up with Museum of Surrey staff to pay tribute to his famed father – sharing a compelling story of curiosity and cultural transformation. Discover how Leon’s life converged with the civil rights movement, the polio epidemic, scientific achievement, and comic book fandom.

Visitors will have the opportunity to see magical tools of the trade like Leon’s decks of cards and magic wand, posters from performances, comics from that era, costumes belonging to Mandrake the Magician and his assistant, Lon’s mom Velvet, and more.

Leon was affected by adversity throughout his career, including some of the same challenges families face with the COVID-19 pandemic today.

“Magicians were like rock stars in the 1930s and 1940s, filling stadiums with crowds of fans,” said Jessie McLean, Assistant Curator. “But the poliovirus epidemic of the 1950s, which mainly affected children, meant that playgrounds, gatherings, and live shows were cancelled.”

Since reopening back in 2018, there have been eight Community Treasures Exhibits at the museum, including: ‘Our Colours Our Stories,’ ‘Diverse Francophones,’ ‘Filipino Textiles,’ ‘Chinese Culture’ and ‘Discover Your Story: We Can Help.’

“Community Treasures celebrates the stories of Surrey’s people,” said McLean. “From Filipino textiles, to Mandrake the Magician, you will be surprised at the diversity of stories from Surrey’s amazing community.”

Museum of Surrey welcomes the community’s exhibit proposals. They are reviewed for how well they fit the museum’s mission and values. For more information, or to fill out an application, visit www.surrey.ca/museum.

Call 604.592.6956 or email museum@surrey.ca to register for your visit, including how many people will be in your party (including infants). The museum follows all citywide COVID-19 safety protocols. A maximum of 34 registered visitors are allowed in the museum at a time for visits.

Upon arrival, please wait outside, observing COVID-19 health protocols. Staff will invite you inside and continue check-in at Reception. Maps will be available for self-guided visits. Masks are mandatory and must be always worn. For more information about Leon Mandrake, www.leonmandrake.com.

Museum of Surrey is a dynamic and accessible community hub and cultural space that reflects the City of Surrey’s innovation and creativity.

It is a people museum, with a mission to connect people and stories through engaging events, interactive award-winning exhibits, programs, textiles, and local, national, and international exhibitions, as well as public space for rentals.

The facility, located at 17710 56A Avenue in Surrey, is on the Heritage Campus, home to Veterans Square, Anderson Cabin, 1881 Town Hall and Anniedale School.

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Surrey Art Gallery Media Release – We’re All Artists

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Edith Strand, Winter Solstice.

“An Hour of Joy” – Surrey Art Gallery teams up with Seniors’ Centre Without Walls to Offer Telephone Art Class

Mondays from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Surrey, BC – Since spring 2020, Surrey Art Gallery has partnered with Surrey’s Seniors’ Come Share Society to offer “We’re All Artists: Creative Practices at Home” as part of Seniors’ Centre Without Walls (SCWW).

Edwin Chau is the program coordinator for SCWW in which “We’re All Artists” is one of many dial-in phone programs where participants can meet others, gain new skills, and stay connected.

Two long-time Surrey Art Gallery instructors, April Davis and Claire Moore, take turns leading the hour-long class on Mondays from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

This free drop-in, tech-friendly program simply requires participants to register in advance, pick up the phone when Chau calls, and press 1.

“We’re All Artists” is aimed at seniors 55+ in Surrey and White Rock. The lessons consist of an art technique such as collage, drawing, or painting delivered through simple but precise instructions over the phone, mixed with art history facts and time for verbally sharing and responding.

Most of the materials can be found at home, though participants are mailed a package with a handout and supplies needed for the coming session.

Mary E. Harris, Red-breasted nuthatch, 2020, pastel on paper.
Susan Match, Fall Warms my Heart, 2020, watercolour on paper.
Mary E. Harris, Let's Go Fly a Kite, 2020, pen on paper.

The program attracts seniors of all ages and abilities for various reasons. Susan Match of Surrey was drawn to the art class when she began losing her sight. She calls the class a “life-saver” and says it is helping her brain and her sight. She states, “I’m growing. I’m not an artist. I’ve always done management [positions] but I actually see improvements now. It’s working!”

Another participant, Mary E. Harris, has an arts background that she’s reconnecting with because of this class. “It forces me to sit down and do what I love,” she says. A former teacher who is passionate about Paleolithic cave art, one of her favourite sessions was making gesture drawings with Claire Moore. She refers to the class as “an hour of joy.”

Edith Strand, mandala 1 (2020, wax crayons and watercolours)

The social aspect of the program is just as enticing as the artmaking. Edith Strand says, “I’m surprised how much I enjoy being with other people making art, even though I can’t see them.” Match echoes this sentiment: “You get to know people in a different way—how we see the world and art.”

Interested seniors can register by emailing scww@comeshare.ca or phoning Edwin Chau at 604-531-9400 ext 205. As the program is very popular, the Gallery recommends registering early to avoid being put on a waitlist.

About Surrey Art Gallery

Internationally recognized for its award-winning programs, Surrey Art Gallery, located at 13750 88 Avenue in Surrey, is the second largest public art museum in Metro Vancouver. Founded in 1975, the Gallery presents contemporary art by local, national, and international artists, including digital and audio art.

Its extensive public programs for children through to adults aim to engage the public in an ongoing conversation about issues and ideas that affect our communities and to provide opportunities to interact with artists and the artistic process.

Admission is free. Surrey Art Gallery gratefully acknowledges the financial assistance of the City of Surrey, Province of BC through BC Arts Council, Canada Council for the Arts, and the Surrey Art Gallery Association.

Surrey Art Gallery continues to present Art Together, a series of online programs that began in March 2020 and explore art and artists in the community, spark the imagination, and celebrate the ways that art can impact our lives. Visit us virtually, follow us on Facebook and Instagram, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

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Showcasing Life in Self-Isolation, Vancouver Photographer Publishes Self-Portrait Photo Book

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Me Myself and I: A Whimsical Look at Life in Lockdown

Vancouver concert photographer, Christopher Edmonstone, has launched a 50-page, full-colour photo book depicting life in pandemic driven self-isolation, titled Me Myself and I: A Whimsical Look at Life in Lockdown. With a complete shutdown of much of his usual subject matter, he turned his lens on the one person he was with all the time – himself.

As an opportunity to stay occupied and continue to grow creatively, he has layered his unique visual aesthetic onto his experiences of isolation in a unique and humorous way. The images feature Edmonstone x3 (Me Myself and I) doing everything from making bread and incessantly checking the fridge and cupboards hoping a snack will suddenly appear, to doing battle with monstrously big coronaviruses with a mop and wet wipes.

For over 10 years, Edmonstone has been known to be out and about multiple nights a week capturing local and international artists in all their glory, however COVID-19 replaced his regular concert-going lifestyle with one of quarantines and lockdowns. As he explains, “to say 2020 upended my life is an understatement.” However, one thing that did not change was his passion for creating striking images.

At the height of the pandemic, Edmonstone began documenting a somewhat humorous take at his life in self-isolation. What resulted is a beautiful 50 page, full-colour, hardcover book entitled, Me Myself and I: A Whimsical Look at Life in Lockdown.

“The photographs are presented chronologically and definitely evolve from the everyday routine into the surreal, with a recurring theme of being trapped in isolation. It was a ton of fun to make these photographs even if the circumstances that are bringing them about are grim,” shared Edmonstone.

“Finding an interesting way to document my life in lockdown provided a much needed diversion from the world raging outside my door and it felt good to be productive again. It also gave me the occasion to actually put some pants on, because let’s face it, most people were lounging about in boxers or sweatpants at home, whether they were working or not.”

Vancouver historian, author and showman, Aaron Chapman also shared his thoughts on the book, as well as providing the foreword. ”As you can see through these pages, the images of what I like to call the ‘Edmonstone Triplets’ and their lockdown survival is both surreal and whimsical—but there’s also a truth presented for those of us who lived through the pandemic we will easily identify and see in ourselves.

It’s all here—the endless cleaning, endless laundry, going back to the refrigerator to see what’s there and hasn’t changed. Did any of us expect we’d all have a go at so much baking? So much cooking? So many hours lying awake at night on our smart-phones? So much, just, hanging around at home…?”

Having made the decision to self-publish, Edmonstone’s book is now available for purchase on his Kickstarter page, which boasts a number of levels and ways to support through the campaign. A fantastic coffee table book, years from now when people ask how you survived the pandemic, you can show them this book and think back on all the COVID craziness you endured.

“I decided to self-publish a beautiful hardcover book because when I lose my mind I will have this book to help explain what happened,” teased Edmonstone. “This could likely be the only time that my bare ass will be in print so don’t miss your chance on this one.”

For more information, please visit Christopher Edmonstone’s Kickstarter page.

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Arts and Entertainment

Surrey Art Gallery gets face-to-face with current moment in new exhibit

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January 23−March 27, 2021
Winter Launch with Patrick Cruz, Qian Cheng, and Francis Cruz

Saturday, January 30 | 6:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Artists and Curators in Conversation: Saturday, February 27 | 2:00 p.m. –3:00 p.m.

Surrey, BC – Surrey Art Gallery ushers in the New Year with a group exhibit titled Facing Time opening Saturday, January 23 and launching the following Saturday, January 30 with a live Instagram event from 6:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

The human face reveals a lot about someone. From smiling or frowning to more complex expressions of hope, fear, or approval, the face is how people read others. During this pandemic, faces have taken on heightened significance. Most interactions with others happen virtually. Masks cover much of people’s faces, leaving communication up to the eyes.

Jack Shadbolt, Untitled, 1986, drawing: graphite on paper. Surrey Art Gallery permanent collection.

Deborah Putman, Vefele Looks in the Mirror, 2009, acrylic on canvas. Surrey Art Gallery permanent collection.

In Facing Time, Surrey Art Gallery invites the public to get up close to collages of archival portraits, psychological portraiture, altered faces from art history as art stamps, photographs of amateur baseball players, drawings of aged faces suffering from illness, needlepoint representations of French philosophers, terracotta heads, and artworks that use social media as a medium, to name a few examples in this show drawn from the Gallery’s permanent collection and from loans.

The artworks in this exhibition, while mostly created before the pandemic, speak to the current moment of facial interfaces and increased digital activity. Time shrinks as people scroll through faces on social media, join another video conference meeting, and catch up with family and friends in the same or different time zones via video calls. More and more personal devices use digital facial recognition software for identification and surveillance. Selfies still abound.

Surrey Art Gallery Curator of Exhibitions and Collections Jordan Strom says, “Contemporary art can reimagine how we represent ourselves and think about facial communication both now and in the future. This exhibition examines the many creative and critical ways in which artists have sought to capture the human face over the past 50 years.”

Surrey Art Gallery invites you to look at the human face—in all its beauty, pain, and complexity—and to consider these questions with them this winter.

Jaswant Guzder, Prayer spaces and portrait 1, 2016, ink, cloth on natural linen. Courtesy of the artist.

Other exhibitions at the Gallery include Art by Surrey Secondary Students, a display of collages, drawings, and paintings from local youth (opens February 6) and Carol Sawyer: Proscenium, a video installation about illusion, trickery, and performance (closes February 14).

At UrbanScreen, Surrey Art Gallery’s outdoor art site, the Flavourcel collective will launch a new experimental animation project on February 6.

On Saturday, January 30 from 6:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., join Surrey Art Gallery staff on Instagram Live @surreyartgal for a casual introduction to the exhibit and a performance by Patrick Cruz, Qian Cheng, and Francis Cruz. On Saturday, February 27 from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., exhibiting artist Jaswant Guzder will discuss portraiture and faces with curator Jordan Strom.

This live event will take place on the Gallery’s Facebook and Youtube pages. The Gallery is open for pre-booked tours of Facing Time on select days: Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Phone the Gallery at 604-501-5566 (press 1) or email artgallery@surrey.ca to book.

Diane Burgoyne, He Transmits, She Receives, 1987, mixed media sculpture. Surrey Art Gallery permanent collection. Photo by Cameron Heryet.

Participating Artists:

Durrah Alsaif, Simranpreet Anand, Rebecca Bair, Lorna Brown, Diana Burgoyne, Chila Kumari Burman, Audrey Capel-Doray, Qian Cheng, Lincoln Clarkes, Share Corsault, Patrick Cruz, Francis Cruz, Eryne Donahue.

Tom Douglas, R.W. Eastcott, Soheila Esfahani, Gabor Gasztonyi, Barry Goodman, Jaswant Guzder, Brian Howell, Jim Jardine, Bill Jeffries, Doreen Jensen, Ali Kazimi, Ann Kipling, Laura Wee Láy Láq, George Littlechild, Ken Lum, Al McWilliams, Elizabeth MacKenzie, María Angélica Madero.

Chito Maravilla, Sally Michener, my name is scot, David Neel, Al Neil, Mark Neufeld, George Omorean, Leslie Pool, Deborah Putman, Marianna Schmidt, Jack Shadbolt, Drew Shaffer, Hari Sharma, Stephen Shore, Jarnail Singh, Jeannette Sirois, Manuel Axel Strain, Ed Varney, Carrie Walker, Jin-me Yoon

About Surrey Art Gallery

Internationally recognized for its award-winning programs, Surrey Art Gallery, located at 13750 88 Avenue in Surrey, is the second largest public art museum in Metro Vancouver. Founded in 1975, the Gallery presents contemporary art by local, national, and international artists, including digital and audio art.

Its extensive public programs for children through to adults aim to engage the public in an ongoing conversation about issues and ideas that affect our communities and to provide opportunities to interact with artists and the artistic process. Admission is free.

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

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