City in Flux by Carolina de la Cajiga

Carolina de la Cajiga, a local Vancouver artist, calls herself a multidisciplinary explorer. Indeed her body of work, City in Flux, on exhibition at the Lynn Valley Library Gallery is evidence of her imagination and talent. I just love her statement on one of her websites: “I paint when I create from within and photograph when I take from the outside. When painting, I represent what is in my mind. When photographing, I remove some of what exists to leave only what my mind searches. I embrace analysis to keep advancing”.

De la Cajiga’s oevre is part of this year’s Capture Photography Festival and as the library is just up the road from where I live, it definitely featured on my to-do list. The gallery space in the library is not huge – just a portion of the corridor leading into the stacks as one exits off the elevator. Even so, de la Cajiga managed to exhibit quite a concise range of her work. I was especially amused and interested to see her work on construction works and traffic controllers (people wearing hi-visibility workwear), as this was the subject of my Assignment 1 rework. I immediately felt an infinity to this photographer. I especially liked the way she presented her photos – in a grid form.

Sometimes it was only one photograph that was repeated twenty-five times, others it was two that were repeated or the same image was mirror flipped (I didn’t look that closely, but it struck me when I uploaded the photos I had taken that they might very well be mirrored images).  De la Cajiga states on her wall text that “workers appear and disappear from our view and mind, even in their neon uniforms.  They are so easy to forget …” Elsewhere on her website she states that by photographing these workers she wants to make them more visible. By presenting the work in a grid format, as a topography the visual impact is greater on the viewer than a single image would have been. The viewer is compelled to draw in closer for a closer look, wondering what these many people are doing, only eventually to realise that the images are all about the one person. The multiples of the images rendering a greater importance than a single image. I think I might try my hi-visibility images in such a format and see where that might lead to.

Construction Worker (Green (9336) by Carolina de la Cajiga
Traffic Controller (1421) by Carolina de la Cajiga

Vancouver is a city that is growing at a rapid pace, but expansion is limited by our natural boundaries – the ocean and the mountains. Housing is unbelievably expensive and there is a huge shortage of affordable dwelling through Vancouver and surrounding suburbs. Carolina de la Cajiga takes liberty where architects and city planners are hampered and uses her imagination to create new living spaces for the city. She transforms reality into construct new urban environment albeit implausible. Through her illusions she is bringing this social problem to the forefront. Both the images below are altered photography. I found the images to be incredibly creative and at the same time playful, as if she is taunting the city planners for their lack of imagination.

Triple Deck I English Bay (1239) by Carolina de la Cajiga
Wall Centre Twin Towers over English Bay (5773) by Carolina de la Cajiga

I just have to include this amazing triptych of the North Shore, for two reasons. The first is that this is where I live – over on the far right image, half way up the mountain – obviously not literally :-).

North Shore panorama – triptych by Carolina de la Cajiga

The second is that like some of Anna Fox’s work, this is a composite. The image consists of 58 individual shots stitched together to form the background plus 43 additional components from other images. A total of 1,888 photographs were taken to make this image. The final image is huge, 6 GB, 165″ x 33″ and apparently it takes 12 minutes to save. Despite this image being a composite, it really does depict the busyness of the Vancouver habour on any given day, with float planes landing and taking off simultaneously as helicopters come in to land, the seabuses making their crossings across the harbour, ferrying people to and fro every fifteen minutes, tankers lying in wait to load or offload their wares and of course the inevitable bird life around the harbour – the seagulls, Canadian geese and ravens.

Reference List

De la Cajiga, Caroline (2017) Caroline de la Cajiga [online] Available at: [Accessed 25 March,2017]


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