‘Detail’ Playful Blossoms, Esmie Gayo McLaren

In response to the Anti-Asian graffiti in Lower Lonsdale last month, North Van Arts collaborated with local artist Esmie Gayo McLaren, North Shore Multicultural Society, North Shore Immigrant Inclusion Partnership, and Centre for Diversity and Inclusion to send out a message of Connection and Friendship.

“Inspired by sukura blooms and shrieks of spontaneous play, Playful Blossoms pays homage to children’s ability to easily accept others and forge friendships. Perhaps unencumbered by discrimination and fears, they readily initiate play with newcomers. With energetic brushstrokes and soft spring colours, I aspire to encourage connection with others and inspire friendships.” Artist Statement – Esmie Gayo McLaren

The four partners worked together with McLaren to create a poster to display in public spaces. “The community can walk by CityScape Community ArtSpace on Lonsdale, and see this large poster in our windows. It is a way for us to recognize that we need to stop racism in our community, that the graffiti was unacceptable, and that we can start at a place of connection,” says Nancy Cottingham Powell, Executive Director of North Van Arts.

The poster on display at CityScape Community ArtSpace

“In a recent NSMS survey, 19% of North Shore newcomer participants who immigrated from countries in East Asia reported that they have experienced an attack, harassment, or discrimination based on race. In Vancouver, a report released by the Vancouver Police Department indicated a 717% increase in anti-Asian hate crimes in 2020. A survey conducted by the Chinese Canadian National Council for Social Justice, reported that 1,150 people experienced incidents of anti-Asian racism in Canada between March 2020 and February 2021” – statement from NSMS press release.

“We hope that Playful Blossoms, inspires more community members to talk about how racism shows up in their personal lives, work spaces, and public spaces and how we move toward more inclusive and positive community dialogue,” says Cottingham Powell.

Interested organizations can pick up a poster to display in their windows from CityScape Community Art Space. Post cards are also available for distribution to community members.

Let’s Stop Racism in Our Community – More resources

Inspiring Connection and Friendship Poster

Centre for Diversity and Innovation

BC Government Anti-Racist Campaign

BC Office of the Human Rights Commissioner – Be Anti-Racist Campaign

Asian Gold Ribbon Day Campaign
As this project was being developed, the Asian Gold Ribbon Day Campaign was founded by Dr. Gina Wong. This Thursday, May 20, we encourage you to wear a gold ribbon or Asian gold mask to show your support for Asian heritage and culture.


Note: The North Shore Multicultural Society is now Impact North Shore! As of September 2021, we have changed our brand name to Impact North Shore. Learn more about this change here.