Sonny Assu & Mark Ollinger x Burrard Arts Foundation

Title: Slurpee Stuper

Artists: Sonny Assu - Liǥwildax̱w/Kwakwaka’wakw & Mark Ollinger

Curated by: Burrard Arts Foundation

Event: Vancouver Mural Festival

Year: 2018

Details: A chance encounter brought Mark Ollinger and Sonny Assu together for their collaborative mural at Main and 14th. Sonny, a former Mt. Pleasant resident, was excited to create a mural for Snackland, a former a 7-11, based solely on the fact that he “once stopped a dude from pilfering a bottle of chocolate milk there.” Enraged at being called out, the guy slunk out the door, seemingly saying "you haven't seen the last of me!" 

10 minutes later the same guy confronted Sonny on his way home, with nunchuks, outside of the Western Front Gallery. Chuckling at the absurdity of it all and just wanting to enjoy his slurpee, Sonny whipped out his orange Nokia phone and called the fuzz. The sad ninja huffed back to his car and sped off. And no, that chance encounter was not with Mark. They met in Mark's studio during an art crawl.

Slurpee Stupor is an homage to things that can only really happen in East Van. 

About Sonny Assu:

Sonny Assu (Liǥwildaʼx̱w of the Kwakwaka’wakw Nations) was raised in North Delta, BC, over 250 km away from his home ancestral home on Vancouver Island. Having been raised as your everyday average suburbanite, it wasn't until he was eight years old that he discovered his Liǥwildax̱w/Kwakwaka’wakw heritage. Later in life, this discovery would be the conceptual focal point that helped launch his unique art practice.

Assu's artistic practice is diverse: spanning painting, sculpture, photography, digital art and printmaking. Sonny negotiates Western and Kwakwaka’wakw principles of art making as a means of exploring his family history and the experiences of being an Indigenous person in the colonial state of Canada.

Having cut his teeth in Vancouver's art scene, Assu packed up and moved to Montreal to be with the love of his life. Five years later, along with his wife and beautiful daughter, Sonny moved back to BC, eventually settling back "home" in unceded Liǥwildaʼx̱w territory (Campbell River, BC.).

Assu received his BFA from the Emily Carr University in 2002 and was the recipient of their distinguished alumni award in 2006. He received the BC Creative Achievement Award in First Nations art in 2011 and was thrice long-listed for the Sobey Art Award. He received his MFA from Concordia University in 2017 and was one of the Laureates for the 2017 REVEAL - Indigenous Art Awards.

His work has been accepted into the National Gallery of Canada, Seattle Art Museum, Vancouver Art Gallery, Museum of Anthropology at UBC, Burke Museum at the University of Washington, Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, Hydro Quebec, Lotto Quebec and in various other public and private collections across Canada, the United States and more.

About Mark Ollinger:

Mark Ollinger was born in 1988 and grew up in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Growing up around carpentry, woodworking was always something Mark was heavily exposed to and interested in. As he grew his art practice, he developed a style that used a combination of his learned trades into the unique sculptural practice he has now.

Mark discovered his passion for art in his early teens and by graduation was engaged in creating in a daily basis, going on to freelance in graphic design and illustration, followed by working in silkscreening. Experimenting in these different areas helped inform the graphic nature of Mark’s current practice, combined with his previous woodworking experience. Mark then started Duality Clothing, though he continued his daily painting during the six years of owning and operating the company.

Afterwards, Mark turned all his attention towards his original passion of creating paintings and sculptural works. In 2015 he embarked on an ongoing body of unsanctioned public sculptural installations in Canada, as well as abroad in Melbourne, Los Angeles, Toronto and Montreal.

Self taught, Mark works full time as an artist based in Vancouver, Canada.


Vancouver Mural Festival’s Indigenous Programs supports artists and organizations in the creation of public art and workshops for youth. We believe Coast Salish and other Indigenous artists have the power to reshape urban spaces by reflecting their contemporary and traditional values, stories, experiences, and ideas in this lasting and tangible way. 

Vancity’s generous support enables us to better connect the stories of these programs with the public. Below you will find information in the form of videos, pictures, interviews, articles, and more.

Note: Our definition of Indigenous includes First Nations, Métis, and Inuit.