The Decameron Retold opens in Richmond

The series of tableaux vivants use Giovanni Boccaccio’s 14th century work as a launching point.

A new art exhibit opens this weekend that blends six-hundred-year-old classic literature with stories unique to Richmond.

Artist Adad Hannah’s latest project, The Decameron Retold, opens at the Richmond Art Gallery with a reception Saturday afternoon.

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It’s a series of tableaux vivants, or “living pictures,” where local models were arranged to create a still scene. They’re holding in place, but not perfectly, and Hannah hopes the end result is intriguing.

Adad Hannah the Decameron retold Richmond
Image: Adad Hannah

“As a viewer you’re caught watching … waiting for something to happen, waiting for something to move … You’re mixed between anticipation and frustration, trying to understand the image,” he told the Richmond News.

He’s using the framework of Giovanni Boccaccio’s 14th century work The Decameron, a collection of 100 novellas from the perspective of men and women in Italy trying to avoid the bubonic plague.

Some of the exhibit re-creates Boccaccio’s scenes, but he also uses the author’s framework to tell stories about Richmond. He didn’t want to reveal too much, but said you may want to pay attention to some personal tales in the last stage of the exhibit.

He added he enjoyed working with volunteers from Richmond and elsewhere in the Lower Mainland.

“We got a lot done, we made a lot of art,” he said.  

The free reception happens from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 9 at the Richmond Art Gallery. The exhibit runs until April 20.

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