SUM gallery is one of less than a handful of permanent queer-mandated art galleries in the world. SUM produces, presents and exhibits with a curatorial vision favouring cutting-edge, thought-provoking multidisciplinary work that pushes boundaries and initiates dialogue. SUM brings diverse communities together to support artistic risk-taking, incite creative collaboration and experimentation and celebrate the rich heritage of queer artists and art.
The artist-run SUM gallery was founded in 2018, by Artistic Director SD Holman as a permanent space supporting multidisciplinary exhibitions, events and artist residencies. At the time of the founding, SUM was the only queer-mandated gallery in Canada—not the first, but earlier attempts have succumbed to gentrification, or exhaustion, or both. And we salute you.
SUM gallery came to BC Artscape’s space in the Sun Wah Centre as a partnership with Full Circle First Nations Performance, the Vancouver Indigenous Media Arts Festival, and multimedia titan Paul Wong’s On Main Gallery. We populate the empty 4th floor, previously left in shell condition since the 1980’s when it was built.
The SUM gallery name honours our location with multi-layered meaning:
○ Originally envisioned as a Dim Sum (點心) restaurant, our space features the traditional round window, now a striking feature of our office
○ The name pays tribute to the Pearl River Delta immigrants who settled our neighbourhood 150 years ago: Sum (心) means heart in their Cantonese dialect
○ Words for queer people in Chinese include the Sum 心 character
○ SUM = summation (∑), the sum of its parts, the sum total, 2LGBTQIA+
○ Some (art)