Museum Bhavan — July 5-15


A ‘pocket’ museum that defies definition

“It unfolds, one page after the other, like a dream.” – Teju Cole, The New York Times

Co-presented by


Dayanita Singh is among the most renowned contemporary photographers in the world. Her latest project, Museum Bhavan, is a beautiful boxed set of nine intimate concertina books. It is a marriage of photography’s two major formats: book and exhibition, and creates an experience where books have the same, if not greater, artistic value than prints hanging on a gallery wall. Museum Bhavan was named ‘Book of the Year’ at the prestigious Paris Photo 2017.

The images in Museum Bhavan have been intuitively grouped into lyrical chapters to tell a visual story such as ‘Little Ladies Museum’ and ‘Ongoing Museum,’ as well as more specific series like ‘Museum of Machines.’ Singh encourages her readers/viewers to install and curate these mini exhibitions as they wish in their own homes or in public spaces.

In keeping with this spirit, Indian Summer Festival and the Vancouver Art Gallery collaborate in a unique public art project. Nine artists in Vancouver will each receive one of Singh’s mini-museums. Each of them will become curators of their museum without walls. See below for a list of artists/curators and locations.

Take a selfie at 5 locations, and you’ll receive admission for two to the Vancouver Art Gallery. Show your photos at the Admissions Desk to claim your prize.

Take a selfie at all 9 locations, and you could win a grand prize package from Indian Summer Festival consisting of a complete ‘Museum Bhavan’ Box set (now a rare, out-of-print book) and a bottle of wine to celebrate your win!

The book is already out of print, but Indian Summer has a limited number of copies for sale at festival events.

Participating Artists
Charlotte Yao

Location: Pulp Fiction Books, 2422 Main St, Vancouver, BC V5T 3E2

Reason: Yao selected Pulp Fiction to display her book because: “Every book can be considered a museum and at Pulp Fiction, Dayanita’s Museum Bhavan can unfold to expecting and unintended visitors.”

Elizabeth Zvonar

Location: The Ron Burnett Library + Learning Commons, Emily Carr University, 520 E 1st Ave, Vancouver, BC V5T 0H2

Reason: “Not only because this is my Alma Mater but mostly because it has a thorough and discursive collection within which is home to the nonpareil Special Collections. This place is a special gem in the city of Vancouver.” 

Maegan Hill­-Carroll

Location: The Young and The Restless Clothing Exchange (formerly Oscars Art Books), 1533 W Broadway, Vancouver, BC V6J 1W6

Reason: “The Printing Press museum is placed here; in the place where once was Oscars Art Books; where once were walls that held thousands of art books, that for years, I lifted out of boxes, placed onto shelves, and poured over their pages, many of which were printed on the presses pictured here in this mini-museum.” 

Hyung-Min Yoon

Location: On the Coffee Table, outside the chambers of the Council at Vancouver City Hall, 453 W 12th Ave, Vancouver, BC V5Y 1V4

Reason: “In this spot, Museum Bhavan activates a lighthearted question about the inherent level of absurdity in any administration. I hope it also makes anyone feel at home.”

Margaret Dragu

Location: South Arm Community Centre, 8880 Williams Rd, Richmond, BC V7A 1G6

Reason: “I work at SACC. This place feels like my home village. I want to share this little museum with my friends and neighbours. I like how Dayanita works with collections, archives and libraries while pushing the boundaries between publication and performance. I like to participate in projects that democratize and expand Ways of Seeing ART!!!”

Marlene Yuen

Location: Libby Leshgold Gallery at Emily Carr University, 520 E 1st Ave, Vancouver, BC V5T 1A7

Reason: “I chose the Libby Leshgold Gallery to host this book, File Museum, by Dayanita Singh because the current exhibit, It’s Difficult to Put a Painting in the Mailbox, focuses on artist books and publication. It’s truly difficult to mail a painting that’s why I started making books.”

Sandeep Johal

Location: In her neighbourhood, Mount Pleasant, in Gallery Lane at Broadway between Main St and Quebec St, where her mural for Vancouver Mural Festival is located.

Reason: “It’s in my neighbourhood, houses my first outdoor mural, and shows the positive transformation art can bring to a public space.”

Debra Sparrow

Location: Indian Summer Festival’s PAUSE Pavilion, Vanier Park (near Bard on the Beach Parking lot 1600 Whyte Avenue, Kitsilano).

Reason: “This location is the site of the ancestral village of sən̓aʔqʷ (pronounced Sun’ahk) which is important to the history of my people and this land. Also, I wanted Dayanita to be close to my own work, ‘Starweaver’ that currently lives in the PAUSE pavilion.”


Clare Yow

Location: Trout Lake Community Centre, 3360 Victoria Dr, Vancouver, BC V5N 4M4

Reason:“The photographs in Dayanita Singh’s “Museum of Furniture”convey a sense of solitude and stillness that is offset by the bustling setting in which her photo book has been temporarily installed here. This location, open to the publicfor use, was selected for its vital role in building and fostering a sense of community and knowledge-sharing. Like the furniture found in this space, the book also has an innate form and a function that is activated by human use and engagement.”