Current Exhibits at The Works

Current Exhibit January 15 - February 15, 2019
塑胶狮 (SU JIAO SHI), by yong fei guan

Su Jiao Shi-01.jpg

On April 4, 2017, the city of Edmonton removed the Chinese guardian lions from Harbin Gate at Chinatown for LRT construction. Coincidingly, as of January 2018, China is no longer accepting certain plastic recyclable products from Alberta’s municipalities. The policy makers have the most power to influence culture and environment, but I wonder if artistic expression will also influence politics. Coming from a heritage that doesn’t waste anything, I attempt to transform our plastic waste into contemporary Chinese guardian lions that speak about Chinese-Edmontonian culture.

As a Chinese-Canadian artist, I try to reflect my multicultural identity in my work. I utilize diverse approaches to make art: public, community art, picture books and paintings. My work reflects the everyday consumerism. Recently I have been exploring transformation of plastic waste into contemporary Chinese icons.

塑胶狮 (Su Jiao Shi) is a pair of contemporary Chinese guardian lion sculptures that I created from household plastic waste. I reflect on both environmental issues and politics. I am influenced by many contemporary artists like Aurora Robson, who creates works with plastic collected from the waste stream to raise awareness about plastic pollution.

I see an ironic relationship between the Chinese guardian lions and plastic waste: the Chinese guardian lions are perceived as not valuable enough to stay in their original place, and yet our plastic waste is no longer valuable enough for China to accept.

塑胶狮 (Su Jiao Shi) was originally presented at The Works Art & Design Festival in 2018.

Yong Fei Guan

Yong Fei Guan is a Chinese-Canadian artist and illustrator. Guan has been involved in public and community art projects with a focus of environmental awareness, which include YEGmidautumn (milk jug lantern workshops, milk jug contest and parade during Chinese Mid-autumn Festival 2017), YEGCANVAS 2015, and The Postcard Project 2013 (engaging neighbours with environmental conversations). Her latest exhibition, C is for Compost, is an alphabet book about composting. For more information about her work, visit


This program sees an Edmonton artist exhibit in the new Enterprise Centre facility curated by a youth curator and installed in a six month rotation. At The Works, we believe that placing art in public places allows for people of all ages and backgrounds to experience, learn about, and appreciate visual art.

For more information about the artist or sales contact Amber Rooke at The Works Society:
Phone: 780-426-2122  ext 226                

Upcoming Exhibit January 21, 2019
Masks for giants, by Borys Tarasenko


In 2017 I had the good fortune of being commissioned by an acting troupe to design and create masks for a play. The production, titled “Tales of the Holy Mountain”, would feature a series of vignettes inspired by Alejandro Jodorowsky’s 1973 film Holy Mountain, and was to be performed at the following Edmonton Fringe Festival. I was astounded to hear that the actors cast in the play that would be wearing the masks were abnormally large people, some being as much as 60 feet tall. Not being previously aware that such large people existed I nonetheless set to work creating the masks. This was a good opportunity to try painting with wood stain, something I have wanted to try for a while. Happy with my completed work and not hearing back from the acting troupe for weeks, I was informed by them in a brief email that they did not receive their expected funding and were dissolving the production. Quite a blow that I would not be receiving a commission fee for the work, and I was equally upset that I would never see the masks put to use. I'm not quite sure what I will do with them, but for now I am happy to share the masks with the public.

Borys Tarasenko

Borys Tarasenko is a multidisciplinary artist based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. A BFA Art & Design graduate from University of Alberta with a focus in Painting, Borys mostly creates artwork and graphics for musicians, theatre artists, and non-profit organizations. He has been involved in a number of public art projects throughout his hometown of Edmonton, and also likes to illustrate for posters, t-shirts, and colouring books.

Location: The YMCA Community Canvas WORKS initiative is located at Don Wheaton YMCA 10211 102 Avenue - Main floor

Previous Exhibits: 

Agata Garbowska (2017-2019), Alexandra Gusse (2017), Lindsay Kirker (2016-2017), Megan Warkentin (2015-2016), Lucille Frost (2014), Scott Cumberland (2014), Jenny Keith (2013), Glenn Guillet (2011), Justin Shaw (2010), Josée Aubin Ouellette (2009), Michal Wawrykowicz (2008), Tim Rechner (2007), Nicole Galellis (2006).

Archive & Previous presenting partnerships


The exhibit and website explore Edmonton's history in the context of Queen Elizabeth II’s three visits to Edmonton since her Coronation in 1953. The exhibit features images, collectables, and memories of the 1959, 1978, and 2005 royal visits from public archives and contributions by Edmontonians.

The reception launched a website with commentary by Edmonton’s Historian Laureate, Shirley Lowe, and offers visitors the opportunity to contribute to the community archive around these visits, and these times in Edmonton’s development.

Sixty Years is the final component of an ongoing project to work with Edmontonians to activate community memory around the growth of Edmonton and to engage youth in Edmonton’s history during Elizabeth II’s reign as queen. Other aspects of the project have included collection events and an in-school art program.

View exhibit poster