Jay Cabalu – Fortune Diptych

Jay Cabalu – Fortune Diptych

79″ H x 54 3/4″ W
Digital collage on vinyl

79″ H x 59.5″ W
Digital collage on vinyl

Location: Fortune Sound club, 147 E Pender St, Vancouver, BC V6A 1T5

This WAS one half of my artwork for Pride in Chinatown MMXX, but after less than a week of being installed, it was ripped off of the front window of @fortunesound. I don’t know for sure why this person did this, but I can assure you they are no friend of Pride in Chinatown.
Fortune Diptych was inspired by a talk given by Toni Morrison at Portland State University in 1975. She says the following: [35:46] “It’s important therefore to know who the real enemy is and to know the function, the very serious function of racism, which is distraction. It keeps you from doing YOUR work. It keeps you explaining, over and over again, your reason for being… None of this is necessary. There will always be one more thing.” (link in bio for this resource)
Thank you for all the kind messages of support. I am still so PROUD of this work and will bring it back to life soon— do not worry. Racism is distraction 💛 




Part 1: RACISM IS DISTRACTION was reinstalled August 18th. 2020


Jay Cabalu’s Fortune Diptych activates one of Vancouver’s premier nightclubs, Fortune Sound Club, once home to historic Chinatown establishments Ming’s, Hong Kong Cafe and Bamboo Terrace. As a young clubgoer, his first connection to Chinatown came in the form of nightlife where he would attend concerts at the club and participated in hip-hop karaoke nights. The diptych creates a dialogue between the site and two text-based artworks. Part 1: “RACISM IS DISTRACTION”, is a warning from the late Toni Morrison that distils the function of racism as a white supremacist tool to wear down the oppressed. The second part of the diptych uses the phrase, “Yellow Peril Supports Black Power”, a slogan of solidarity originating from Asian-American communities during the late 60’s-early/70’s era of Black Power uprising. The phrase saw a resurgence during recent Black Lives Matter protests. Met with divisive criticism surrounding it’s reference to Yellow Peril, an Asian-centered narrative on the spectrum of race that is both oppressive and privileged. This complex discourse reveals the countless racist experiences held by BIPOC communities in face of common enemies. The pairing of these two phrases intends to refocus the conversation to encourage efficiency and productivity in a new era of intersectional anti-racism.

Jay Cabalu is a Filipinx-Canadian collage artist with a focus in Pop Art. His work confronts popular culture and magazines as mechanisms of white supremacy, patriarchy and capitalism structures directly opposed to his identity as a queer person of colour and immigrant. Through collage, Jay reverse-appropriates to construct his own world and self-image. He has a BFA from Kwantlen Polytechnic University and has shown in numerous spaces in Vancouver since graduating in 2013. He has appeared on CBC’s Crash Gallery as both a contestant in 2015 and a commentator in 2016. In 2018, Jay exhibited with the Foundation for Asian-American Independent Media in Chicago. As well, his work was part of exhibitions with London, UK’s Queer Asia in 2018 and 2019, for which Jay was invited to give his first artist talk at the British Museum. The start of 2020 saw his first Vancouver show focusing on queer-Asian identity at the SUM Gallery, Yellow Peril; The Celestial Elements. His self-portrait De Los Reyes, appears on the cover of the McGill University Press publication Canadian Culinary Imaginations, which explores the role of food as multimodal media. Jay’s art belongs to private collections in Vancouver, Ottawa, Seattle and Los Angeles. 

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