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Richmond's first-ever rock-painting art show invites artists from across Canada

"Richmond on the Rocks" will be part of this fall's Culture Days.

Drawing on inspiration from cave painting, a non-profit is inviting artists from across Canada to take part in Richmond’s first-ever rock-painting art exhibition.

“Richmond on the Rocks” will be part of Culture Days this year to showcase artists’ diverse perspectives while using rocks as their canvases.

The event is hosted by the Canadian Rock Paintings Association in partnership with the City of Richmond.

Chak Au, who is a Richmond city councillor and also president of the Canadian Rock Painting Association, said rock painting has been a long-standing art form for more than a hundred years, and draws on the history of people painting on cave walls.

“We seldom see this kind of art in our community,” said Au.

The non-profit would like to bring back this art form to share and represent the life and community experiences of Richmond through it.

While this is the first large rock-painting initiative in Richmond, Steveston residents have been painting rocks and displaying them around their neighbourhood since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Under the moniker "Steveston rocks," many of them display social messages, such as support for Ukrainians in their war with Russia and for Iranian women as well as bringing awareness to the on-going drug poisoning crisis.

The goal of "Richmond on the Rocks" is to display more than a hundred painted rocks that will “express the different aspects of life in Richmond,” Au said.

Richmond resident Tammy Tam was one of several artists who shared their rock paintings at Richmond City Hall for the launch of the Richmond on the Rock exhibition on Tuesday.

“I think this event is great because we can bring back and appreciate this art form,” said Tam.

Tam started practicing the art of rock painting after she retired.

“It also brings more people together to share the cultural heritage in the city,” she added

Art is a universal language many people can understand and converse in, and the exhibition is one way to connect people during Culture Days, said Andrew Wade, executive director of the Richmond Arts Coalition.

Wade added art is present in every culture and is shared among everyone.

All artists from across Canada, regardless of age and painting levels, can participate until Sept. 18.

Free drop-in rock-painting workshops will be held at the Richmond Cultural Centre on Aug. 12, 19 and 26 from 2 to 4 p.m. for anyone interested.

Selected works submitted for the exhibition will be on display at the Richmond Cultural Centre on Sept. 23 and 24 during Culture Days and may also be showcased in Canada and overseas, including in Richmond’s sister cities.

For information and to submit artwork, email [email protected] or call 778-383-2223.