Joe Sarahan

Video maker, Installation artist, Administrator, Curator
Winnipeg , MB
Manitoba CA
Lives in
Vancouver , BC
British Columbia CA

Video maker, installation artist, arts administrator, curator. Winnipeg-born, ECIAD-trained but self-taught Sarahan has been a pillar of Vancouver’s Video In and queer video circle since 1983, a frequent collaborator of Paul Wong, Paul Lang, Lorna Boschman and most recently with painter Attila Richard Lukacs (2002). Celebrated for his confrontational aesthetics of sexual and social outsiderdom, Sarahan’s best known work was his urban dirge Holy Joe (1987, 11), whose acquisition and presentation by the National Gallery in its inaugural video show in 1988 (also showcasing Fung and Paradis, curated by queer-friendly Su “Mother Courage” Ditta), led to a major censorship kefuffle involving yellow media and the Ontario Censor Board, partly in response to Sarahan’s fleeting glimpses of an SM dungeon (Ditta 1999). Sarahan’s most ambitious project, West Coast Sailor Love Story (1997, 45), is a loose and spicy narrative about a blond American sailor (played by the prolific artist himself) on shoreleave and fulfilling his queer fantasies in a Vancouver underworld of glory holes and homophobic bikers. The political discourses of everything from safe sex to hegemonic white masculinity keep bubbling to the surface.