Citizen Ship Burn It Down!


Inspired by the 2014-2016 Vancouver Biennale’s theme, “Open Borders / Crossroads Vancouver,” and by Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, Indian artist Sajan Mani will engage the public through his street performance Citizen Ship Burn It Down!

Sajan will walk from the Roundhouse Community Centre along the seawall to Stanley Park.  He will wear a black dress and mask covered with black paper boats, handmade by the artist as well as by local community members.  As night falls, the piece will end as Sajan lays down on a rock in the ocean, an offering to the water.

The public, including Roundhouse children’s groups, have participated in the construction of the 376 boats. These paper vessels reference the Komagata Maru, a Japanese steamship that sailed from China to Vancouver in 1914.  The boat was turned away, forcing 340 Sikhs, 24 Muslims and 12 Hindus to return to India.  Sajan’s revolutionary performance will reflect upon the exclusion laws of the early 20th century designed to keep out immigrants of Asian origin.

Date: Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Time: 3.00 – 8.00 PM
Location: Starting at Roundhouse Community Centre
181 Roundhouse Mews, Vancouver

Note: This FREE public event will begin at Roundhouse Community Center at 3.00 pm and end in Stanley Park at 8.00 pm.

This project was made possible through the partnership between the Vancouver Biennale and the Vancouver Park Board, Arts, Culture and Environment Department.

About the Artist

Sajan’s performance deals with aspects of identity, discrimination, social borders and the politics of space.  In most of his work, Sajan concentrates on the body as a socio-political metaphor.

About the Vancouver Biennale

The Vancouver Biennale is a non-profit charitable organization that celebrates art in public space. Each exhibition transforms the urban landscape into an Open Air Museum, facilitating globally-inspired cultural experiences where people live, work, play and transit. The Biennale features internationally renowned and emerging contemporary artists that represent a diversity of cultural perspectives and artistic disciplines, including sculpture, new media, performance works and film. The objective is to exhibit great art and create a catalyst for learning, community engagement and social action. For more information, visit

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