Vivek Shraya Announced as Speaker for Vancouver Art Gallery’s 2019 Heller Lecture

Canada’s celebrated multi-disciplinary artist to deliver talk on Moving Still: Performative Photography in India drawing from her own creative practice

WHEN: Wednesday, May 15 at 7 PM

WHERE: ANNEX Theatre (823 Seymour Street)

TICKETS NOW ON SALE: $40 General / $35 Members* at

*Doors open 6 PM. All tickets are general admission. Audiences are advised to purchase tickets early as this popular event sells out each year.

April 4, 2019, Vancouver, BC –The Vancouver Art Gallery’s eighteenth annual Heller Lecture will be delivered by Vivek Shraya, Canadian multi-disciplinary artist, best-selling author and Polaris Music Prize nominee. Shraya will speak to the Gallery’s spring presentation, Moving Still: Performative Photography in India (April 19 to September 2, 2019), an exhibition of thirteen groundbreaking artists based in India who examine themes of gender, religion and sexual identity.

As an artist of South Asian heritage, who identifies as trans, Shraya will address ideas of migration and diaspora as well as gender identity in relation to Moving Still. She will further draw parallels to the practice of artists in Moving Still and their focus on performance and reconstructing narratives to her own work, specifically Trisha (2018). In this series of self-portraits, Shraya emulates and juxtaposes herself with photographs taken of her mother dating back to the 1970s.

The Vancouver Art Gallery exhibition Moving Still examines key works from an early period of photography in India, not long after the camera’s invention in the nineteenth century, when an active culture of experimentation and exchange began to flourish. Through this historical context, the exhibition showcases the work of India’s shining contemporary artists, among them Pushpamala N, who stages herself as stereotypical female archetypes; Sunil Gupta, who explores experiences of gay life, often in terms of his own identity as an HIV-positive man; and Naveen Kishore, who documents his gender transformation into a female goddess as part of a performance and ode to a celebrated artist of Bengali folk theatre. Moving Still also features artists Nikhil Chopra, Anita Dube, Gauri Gill, Ranbir Kaleka, Sonia Khurana, Tejal Shah, Kiran Subbaiah, Sawai Ram Singh II, and Umrao Singh Sher-Gil.


Vivek Shraya is an artist whose body of work crosses the boundaries of music, literature, visual art, and film. Her best-selling book, I’m Afraid of Men, was heralded by Vanity Fair as “cultural rocket fuel,” and her album with Queer Songbook Orchestra, Part Time Woman, was included in CBC’s list of Best Canadian Albums of 2017. She is one half of the music duo Too Attached and the founder of the publishing imprint VS. Books. A Polaris Music Prize nominee and four-time Lambda Literary Award finalist, Shraya has received honours from The Writers’ Trust of Canada and The Publishing Triangle. She is currently a director on the board of the Tegan and Sara Foundation and an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Calgary.


The Heller Lecture has become one of the Vancouver Art Gallery’s most well-attended public events since its inception in 2002. The program has enabled the Gallery to provide its audiences with thought-provoking and engaging presentations by an impressive list of guest speakers such as American feminist artist Judy Chicago; renowned scholar of surrealism Dawn Ades; the Senior Curator of Prints and Drawings at the Royal Collection Martin Clayton; Pulitzer Prize winning comic artist Art Spiegelman; and celebrated historian and bestselling author Ross King, among others.

The Heller Lecture is generously supported by Paul and Edwina Heller in memory of Kitty Heller.

Tickets for the 2019 Heller Lecture with speaker Vivek Shraya are now on sale at

Book Signing Opportunity: Vivek Shraya will be available to sign copies of her books I’m Afraid of Men (2018) and soon-to-be-released Death Threat in the ANNEX theatre lobby following the event.

Moving Still: Performative Photography in India is organized by the Vancouver Art Gallery, an initiative of the Institute of Asian Art and curated by Diana Freundl, Associate Curator of Asian Art and Gayatri Sinha, Independent Curator and founder of Critical Collective.

For more information about Moving Still and other lectures and artist talks presented in conjunction with this exhibition, visit: