W-E-L-C-O-M-E to PoCo, 2019

Photographic Street Banners

Commissioned by the City of Port Coquitlam’s Street Banner Program + Capture Photography Festival

A public art project produced for the City of Port Coquitlam’s Street Banner Project. Installed on street banners hung in civic squares and major city throughways, W-E-L-C-O-M-E to PoCo seeks to communicate place and belonging through gestures such as an indigenous hand welcome and by spelling out the word welcome in American Sign Language in addition to languages as diverse as Mandarin, Spanish, Ukranian and a welcome from Kwikwetlem First Nation.

The project consists of a total of fifteen diptychs. Half of the diptychs pictures resident of diverse ages and cultural backgrounds. Capturing the cultural and demographic diversity of the West Coast Canadian City of PoCo, these images speak to the makeup of the community and tell people’s stories. Each person on the street banners gestures Welcome by spelling out one letter of the word in American Sign Language. The word is also written in English and the person’s language of origin. On the other side of the diptych is a close-up shot of the hand gesture together with the letter it represents. The banners fit together like a puzzle, spelling the word W-E-L-C-O-M-E as one travels down the street.

The reverse images take the same individuals but place them into a PoCo landscape as silhouettes, where the figure (along with their gesture) is cut out of the landscape, leaving white or brightly coloured negative space. Featuring highly recognizable PoCo landmarks and sites, these images speak tot eh community’s distinct relationship to the natural world and urban landscapes around them and histories inscribed in place.


Curated by Klara Manhal
Presented by the City of Port Coquitlam’s Street Banner Program
Port Coquitlam, Canada
April 2019