Jackie Dives: Things My Dad Taught Me

Scheduled gallery visits at 9 W Hastings Street, online viewing at gachetfromaway.org, and feature images on transit shelters throughout Vancouver, on the stolen, sacred, and ancestral homelands of the xwməθkwəy’əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) people.

Gallery Gachet’s Community Elder, Lorelei Hawkins, and programming staff, Manuel Axel Strain, will open this exhibition with a land acknowledgment and welcome.

This exhibition is part of the 2021 Capture Photography Festival Selected Exhibition Program.

The Grief Point series is posted with the support of the City of Vancouver.

To schedule a visit, please contact programming@gachet.org or 604-687-2468 at least two days in advance of your visit. Please be aware of our COVID-19 safety protocol. Facebook event.

Artist Statement

Things My Dad Taught Me is an exhibition that includes three phases of a photography project I created as a way to process my dad’s death from an accidental drug overdose.

The first series, A Room for the Pain, was made using double exposures created in-camera beginning in the SRO hotel room where my father died. The overlapping imagery of a double exposure was the perfect way to show the confused and fraught emotions I experienced right after his death. A year after my dad passed away I created the second series, Things My Dad Taught Me, using a medium format camera. These photographs are more stoic and calm, and were made while I reflected on grieving someone who has died from a stigmatized death.

Both series were created during moments when I needed to reflect; I would get on my bike and ride to places that reminded me of my dad. I would stop and make photographs of things that resonated with me. As I walked through the Vancouver neighbourhoods where I grew up, I found myself compelled to photograph things that looked overgrown, neglected, forgotten. But I saw freedom in those things too, a lack of inhibition that my dad embodied.

A third series, Grief Point, consists of portraits of people who, like me, have lost a family member to a drug overdose. It is essential for me to tell this story of loss without further stigmatizing the issue of drug use by documenting cliché and irrelevant imagery, but to actually show the families who are being affected by this health crisis. Portraiture is immediate and undeniable. It is a direct link to the deep grief of losing a family member and it is a way for people to feel seen in their grief.

These photographs allow me to reconnect with my dad and remember him in his complexity instead of his faults. Losing him to an overdose impacted my grieving process because of the stigma that perpetuates the idea that someone who uses drugs is less worthy of life, and therefore less worthy of being remembered. My dad was unique — a cat-lover, a mechanic, a carpenter, a friend, and also a person who used drugs.

Artist Bio

Jackie Dives explores themes of identity, grief, and mental health in her art practice, which is primarily lens-based. Her work is auto-ethnographical, using self-reflection to explore anecdotal and personal experience to connect this autobiographical story to wider cultural, political, and social meanings and understandings. Inspired by photographers Nan Goldin, Francesca Woodman, and Mary Ellen Mark, Dives’ photographs are diaristic, vulnerable, and sometimes confrontational. Her work has been published internationally, including in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Intercept.

Locations of Photo Series

Part 1: A Room for the Pain is installed at Gallery Gachet by scheduled visit. Please be familiar with Gallery Gachet’s COVID-19 Safety Protocol before visiting. To schedule a visit (with 1-2 days notice) please contact programming@gachet.org or 604-687-2468.

Part 2: Things My Dad Taught Me is online at gachetfromaway.org

Part 3: Grief Point (April 12 – May 16) is installed at 10 public transit shelters throughout the city at the following locations:

Knight 24 metres North of 57th (West Side)

Cambie 30 metres North of 59th (East Side)

Commercial 20 metres North of Napier (East Side)

Fraser 20 metres North of E. 28th (East Side)

King Edward 20 metres West of Knight (North Side)

Nanaimo 20 metres North of Charles (East Side)

Renfrew 28 metres South of E. 5th (West Side)

Victoria 20 metres North of Brigadoon (East Side)

41st 18 metres East of School (South Side)

49th 23 metres West of Elliott (North Side)

Posted with the support of the City of Vancouver.


Visual description tours are available on request. The main space is a single level space with no stairs. There is one gender-neutral, accessible washroom in the venue. There are no automatic doors for the time being. Find more accessibility audit information here.  If there are ways we can make this exhibition more accessible to you, please contact programming@gachet.org or 604-687-2468.

Content Warning 

Please be aware that Things My Dad Taught Me contends with death due to socio-political violence and includes potentially distressing imagery and subject matter.


Gallery Gachet expresses gratitude to peers and community organizers through local and international movements for overdose prevention, safe supply, decriminalization, drug policy reform, and real safety in our communities.

Thank you to our funders: Canada Council for the Arts, British Columbia Arts Council, the Province of British Columbia, the City of Vancouver, Vancouver Foundation, the Lacey Prize 2019.

  • About Gallery Gachet

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  • 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

    Click here to see our full accesibility audit.

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