Gallery Gachet E-Newsletter
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Manuel Axel Strain: Needed Medicine

January Schedule

We invite you to join
WePress Open Studio
Mondays 1–3pm
Everyone Welcome

Jan 6
WePress Open Studio   1-3pm

Jan 10

Manuel Axel Strain
Needed Medicine 
Opening  Reception  6-9pm

Performance: Friday, January 10, 6pm

Near the gallery in Blood Alley Square between Abbott St and Carrall St

Jan 13
WePress Open Studio   1-3pm

Jan 20
WePress Open Studio   1-3pm

Jan 21
Volunteer Orientation      3pm

Jan 27
WePress Open Studio   1-3pm


Accessibility Info

Front door - 32" width

No steps
Door - 35" width

Toilet clearance:

8'' left side

29'' front

Support bars on left and behind toilet

Our full accessibility audit is available here.

In order to create a space where folks with multiple chemical sensitivities can participate, please refrain from wearing perfumes, colognes or other scented products (including essential oils) and smoke far away from the entrance to the space.
For info on how to support people with multiple chemical sensitivities, visit this resource put together by Peggy Munson.

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Thank you to our sponsors!!


©Image: Manuel Axel Strain, my body, our land, our spirit, 2019. Clay, smudge ash, paper. Image courtesy the artist.

Manuel Axel Strain: Needed Medicine

January 10 - February 15, 2020

Opening Reception: Friday, January 10, 6pm - 9pm

Performance: Friday, January 10, 6pm
Near the gallery in Blood Alley Square between Abbott St and Carrall St

Featuring new work by Manuel Axel Strain, Needed Medicine locates mental health within contexts of colonization, intergenerational trauma, and cultural resurgence. Through installation, sculpture, video, and performance, Strain draws from lived experience as a source of agency to investigate different ways of healing and knowing. Two sculptures made with gathered materials — text books, clay, plexiglass, methadone bottles, and prayer ties — question the stability of psychiatric diagnoses and excessively prescriptive approaches to treatment while integrating the cultural dissonance of healing between worlds. A video installation situates language within land as medicine, responding to a desire to resist the loss of language. Drawn to the alleyways of Gastown or the Downtown Eastside, Strain engages Blood Alley as a performance site, working with smudge ash, clay, tumuth and their body to recast the assertions and erasures of urban myths, national histories, and family stories. Works on paper record performance traces as variations on the artist’s distinct modes of self-portraiture.

Strain’s practice confronts the dominance of institutional medical knowledge, stereotypes, and the stigmatization of addictions, where someone is assumed to be at fault for their substance use and their experiences are removed from contexts of trauma histories within the settler economy. Their work introduces a sensory aspect to the now-conventional form of the land acknowledgement while questioning the meaning and process of reconciliation. Evoking ceremonial processes, Needed Medicine centers the value of autonomy and self-determination in recovery and creativity.

Associated Program
A panel discussion will be hosted. Please check for confirmed details.

Artist Biography
Manuel Axel Strain is a 2-spirit interdisciplinary artist with Musqueam/Simpcw/Syilx heritage based in the unceded territory of the Katzie/Kwantlin peoples. They use their lived experience to inspire social and political change in the colonial state of Canada. This leads them to examine the construction of First Nations identities — in particular the internal conflicts that arise from imposed identity constructs and the legacies of colonization. They work with painting, photography, sculpture, performance, and installation. Strain’s work is mainly concerned with assimilation, religion, spirituality, intergenerational trauma, and healing. Their goal is to move beyond the binary opposition of the colonizer and the colonized to establish new ontologies for First Nations identities.

Gallery Gachet is located in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver on the unceded and occupied territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. Gallery Gachet has a mandate to support artists and offer art programs addressing mental health and socio-political marginalization, while promoting art as a means for survival, cultural participation, and human rights.

For more information contact  604 687 2468 | or visit

Accessibility Info:
Gallery Gachet is located at 9 W Hastings Street, on the main floor of the Beacon Hotel building near Pigeon Park between Carrall & Columbia Streets. The location is accessible by bus, Skytrain and Seabus within 1 bus connection. Bus routes #14, 16, 20, 95, 4, 7 stop within 1-2 city blocks. The Main space is a single level space with no stairs. The front door is 32" wide with no steps. The front door is not automatic. It can be opened upon request or contact us ahead of time. The gallery layout varies depending on the event and art installation(s) in progress. The washroom is single occupancy and all-genders. The washroom door is 35" wide and not automatic. There are support bars for the toilet on the left side and behind the toilet, with a clearance of 8'' on the left side and 29'' in front. Although the space has a scent-reduced policy, chemicals for art may be used in the space. The venue promotes harm reduction and safety for all patrons. The art exhibitions at Gallery Gachet often contend with lived experiences of trauma, mental distress, and marginalization, which could be triggering for some visitors. 

Volunteer Membership Program

Our program offers access to our facility and programs in exchange for volunteering with us. It also offers a wide range of opportunities for learning at all levels, including communication skills, exhibition coordination, learning about non-profit organization management, professional development skills for artists and arts administration skills.

Our next Volunteer Orientation | Tuesday, January 21st at 3pm

Contact: 604-687-2468 or or check out


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9 West Hastings Street
Vancouver, BC  V6B 1G4

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Gallery Gachet · 88 East Cordova Street · Vancouver, British Columbia V6A 1K3 · Canada

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