let’s heal the divide
Toni Latour, Canada
Title: let’s heal the divide
Artist: Toni Latour (b. 1975, Canada)
Medium: Single white neon tube
Dimensions (H x W x D): 76 x 914 x 3 cm (30 x 360 x 1.2 inches)
Weight: 35 kg (77 lbs)
Location: 133 Keefer Street in Vancouver
let’s heal the divide was originally installed on the façade of Vancouver Community College from 2015-17. It marked the physical and perceptual divisions between the Downtown Eastside, one of the most impoverished postal codes in Canada, and one of the wealthiest commercial and financial districts that borders it.
Reinstalled in December 2020, the artwork is located in Vancouver’s Chinatown, a neighbourhood confronted with gentrification, class inversion, and the threat of cultural displacement from urban developers and city rezoning.
From a broader perspective, the artwork also resonates beyond its physical surroundings. Globally, we have witnessed institutional and systemic racism and violence, intense political conflict, the rise of the Black Lives Matter and Me Too Movements, the fight to end targeted transgender violence and discrimination, the continued struggle for Indigenous rights and environmental justice, and, of course, a worldwide pandemic.
At one of the most divisive times in recent history, we continue to make demands for a better world. While economies have been radically altered, and public and personal engagement restricted, we have still found ways to connect, learn, protest, preserve traditions, and build community. let’s heal the divide acts as a reminder that we all share the responsibility for inclusion, justice and collective healing.
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What does let’s heal the divide mean to you? How does it touch on your experience, and in what ways do you think we can reconnect and repair? Connect with the Vancouver Biennale on social media and share your thoughts.
This artwork is generously supported by YVR Collective Association, a group of philanthropists supporting arts initiatives in Vancouver.