Conversations on Shifting Perspectives with Sylvia Grace Borda and Special Guests

September 29, 2020
Arts & Culture Release

Surrey, BC – Join Surrey Art Gallery as we celebrate 15 years of Sylvia Grace Borda’s commissioned photographic artworks and the publication of Shifting Perspectives, a book comprised of essays and photographs that address Borda’s practice in South of the Fraser and beyond.

"Sylvia Grace Borda sees the potential for photography and its ever-evolving technologies like few artists have. This landmark text presents the scope of her work – and it is vast, she spans photography’s history and takes it into its future. This book will make you see that the possibilities for photography are still wide open for exploration," says Edward J. Bateman, Professor of Photography and Digital Imaging, University of Utah.

Tune in on Saturday, October 3 to learn more about the changing nature of digital art and agricultural production. The virtual conversation brings together Sylvia Grace Borda and invited artists, photography historians, and agricultural advocates Edward Bateman, Megan Arney Johnston, Michelle Henning, Grant Rice and Michael Tan. Both the publication and online conversation have been produced in collaboration with Surrey Art Gallery and the Victoria-based Heritage House Press.

Shifting Perspectives includes essays and photographs that address Borda’s practice of leading social commentaries and community-based engagements from Northern Ireland, Scotland, Finland, and Latvia, to the Lower Mainland of British Columbia and its association with the Vancouver School of Art. The title of the book, Shifting Perspectives, borrows its name from an essay by well-known UK photo historian and writer, Liz Wells, which focuses on the shifting viewpoints on subjects often not considered for art representation. The book includes essays by recognized curators and historians, including Dorothy Barenscott, Liane Davison, Rachel Nordstrom, Ryan Stec, Jordan Strom, and Rebecca Travis.

Borda is at the forefront of photographic imaging and engagement arts and is credited for creating the first staged photographic artworks in Google Street View, enabling the public to go off the grid to explore small and mid-sized urban farms. By inviting people behind the scenes, Borda allows audiences to reflect on the land and labour involved in bringing food to the table. Explore a selection of Borda’s iconic Google Street View artworks profiling family farms in Surrey, BC, including the Medomist Farm Ltd, Surrey, BC, Canada:; Rondriso Farm, Surrey, BC, Canada:; and Finley's Rhododendrons, Surrey, BC, Canada:

About the Artist

Sylvia Grace Borda is an artist, lecturer, and social innovator, acknowledged for her work addressing the built environment, agriculture, and climate change through the arts. She is the founder of C.A.R.E. (Climate Arts for Resilient Environments) and collaborates with communities to produce socially engaged and contemporary artworks in response to place-making, changing urban and rural land use. For the past decade, she has split her time between Glasgow, Scotland and Vancouver, Canada.

As an eco-arts advocate, Borda has spoken at the British Council’s “Absorbing Modernity” Venice Biennale roundtable in Northern Ireland, the Glasgow Lighthouse “Recasting Modernism seminar” for Scotland’s Venice Biennale collateral events, and the International Union for the Congress of Nature (UN Forum 2016). She also exhibits internationally and has received several awards, including the international digital arts "Lumen Prize" (2016) and the EU funded "Frontiers in Retreat” Fellowship (2013-17). Currently Borda is a recipient of the "Women4ClimateChange" award.

About the Speakers

Edward Bateman is and artist and Professor of Photography and Digital Imaging, Department of Art and Art History, University of Utah. He is a contributor to several texts on photography including Seizing the Light: A Social and Aesthetic History of Photography (2017).

Megan Arney Johnston is an independent curator, museum specialist, and educator who utilizes socially engaged curatorial practices. She has produced over 300 exhibitions over her 20-year career and contributed to numerous catalogue essays and journals.

Michelle Henning is Chair in Photography and Media at the University of Liverpool, UK. She has written widely on museums, media, and photography in her book Museums, Media and Cultural Theory and Photography: The Unfettered Image (2006) and Museums Media (2015).

Grant Rice is agricultural and food advocate and co-founding Director of the Surrey Urban Farmers Market in Surrey, BC, Canada.

Michael Tan is a Singaporean artist and educator, who is currently a Reader in Art and Design at Sheffield-Hallam University in the UK. His research interests involve exploring art and design practices in relation to health, well-being, and ageing.

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 which began in March 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.

Contact Info

Nicola Enright-Morin, Publicist
604-501-5189 or

Please read and follow digital image use requirements. Access to images will expire October 25, 2020. Please note photo credits where applicable.