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Culture Days will return September 20 – October 13, 2024.

  • Sonja Ahlers, Shapes, 2022, mixed media, 11” x 17”, Courtesy of the artist
  • Sonja Ahlers,Pink Pearl/Mad Love Binder, 2013-ongoing, mixed media, dimensions variable, Courtesy of the artist
  • Sonja Ahlers, Hawks, mixed media, 2020, 12” x16”, Courtesy of the artist

Sonja Ahlers: Classification Crisis


Drawing Interdisciplinary Painting Visual arts Writing & literature
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Date and time

This activity runs the duration of Culture Days.


Richmond Art Gallery

7700 Minoru Gate

Richmond, BC

Directions: Entrance through the Richmond Cultural Centre.



Offered in English and Chinese.

Wheelchair accessible.


Exhibition: September 9 - November 5, 2023

Curated by Godfre Leung

For thirty years, Victoria-based artist Sonja Ahlers has been making books in her distinct visual idiom that is equal parts collage and poetry. Classification Crisis, a major survey of her career, emerged from Ahlers’s project of the last half-decade to prepare her archive. The exhibition includes her Riot Grrrl zines of the nineties, one-of-a-kind chapbooks spanning thirty years, a decade of unseen work after she “quit art” in the wake of the Vancouver art boom, and other artworks and ephemera from a career of collecting images and scraps of language.

Revisiting her career also led Ahlers to produce a new bookwork, Rabbit-Hole, which she describes as a “feminist memoir/scrapbook/confessional commentary on the art world and my place within it.” Adapted for the exhibition as an installation, Rabbit-Hole re-tells the story of her career as a mystery narrative. From the hindsight of the #MeToo reckoning, Ahlers thematizes the collecting and reassembling that sustains her art as a search for clues left behind by her former selves.

Best known for her books Temper, Temper (1998)—a compilation of her nineties zines—The Selves (2010)—the precursor to her influential work with Rookie Mag—and the handmade angora Fierce Bunnies she has been making for three decades, Ahlers’s work has been a touchstone for multiple generations of feminist culture. The exhibition is accompanied by a lavishly illustrated publication that includes essays by contemporaries of Ahlers from throughout her career, and Rabbit-Hole.

Richmond Art Gallery and the artist acknowledge the financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts.



Richmond Art Gallery

Richmond Art Gallery (RAG) is a non-profit municipal art gallery established in 1980. The gallery produces an array of exhibitions and programs that connect, empower, and provoke conversation with our diverse Richmond, BC communities. RAG actively contributes to Richmond’s cultural communities through our commitment to supporting artists via exhibitions, educational programs, publications, and a permanent collection.

Richmond Art Gallery is dedicated to promoting dialogue among diverse communities on challenging ideas and issues of today as expressed through local, national and international contemporary art. Through its exhibitions, publications, educational programming, collections and significant partnerships, the Richmond Art Gallery provides opportunities for the enhancement of life in Richmond while serving the contemporary arts community in Canada.


Kathy Tycholis


This event is part of a hub:

Richmond Cultural Centre & Public Library

City of Richmond Richmond, BC

Richmond Cultural Centre is home to many of Richmond’s essential cultural amenities: Richmond Art Gallery, Richmond Museum, City of Richmond Archives, Richmond Arts Centre, Media Lab, Performance Hall, Rooftop Garden, as well as accessible...