Go Home Yuppie Scum—Preston Buffalo

Apr 11 – Jun 6, 2024

Taking its title from graffiti that appeared on empty/sold Vancouver houses and lots in the 1980s as part of the local anti-gentrification movement, Go Home Yuppie Scum is an irreverent take on the “Welcome to Vancouver” View-Master reels popular in the 1960s to 1980s, which featured 3D images of Vancouver landmarks as a means of enticing tourists to visit. 

By making use of vintage View-Masters and modern stereoscopic viewers stationed around the interior of SUM gallery, Buffalo creates a series of stereoscopic reels that showcase the city from a very different perspective: crumbling, graffiti-adorned structures in the Downtown Eastside, disused rail lines, and thickets of overgrown flora, all eerily devoid of inhabitants. Buffalo applies infrared filters to much of his photographic work, transforming familiar Vancouver scenes into vibrant alien landscapes. The result is a series of urban snapshots that subvert the stereotypical “Beautiful British Columbia” postcard tropes by presenting quasi-dystopian scenes that are unsettling, otherworldly, and beautiful.

This exhibition is part of the 2024 Capture Photography Festival Selected Exhibition Program.

Preston Buffalo, a Two-Spirited Cree artist originally from Treaty 6 Territory, currently resides in the unceded Coast Salish Territories of British Columbia. His interdisciplinary practice involves the exploration of personal Indigenous iconography and symbolism, utilizing photography, alternative photo processes, and digital illustration. Motivated by the challenges faced by Indigenous communities, Preston’s work touches upon themes such as mental health, cultural and linguistic loss due to displacement, the impact of the residential school system, and the process of assimilation. His overall objective is to create visual expressions that encourage new perspectives on Indigenous art, emphasizing its significance in contemporary society and its contribution to an ongoing dialogue.