Redacted City
Jan 10
Jan 31 2023
exhibition in-person

With the swipe of a marker, sweep of a paint brush or twirl of a screwdriver, words are easily covered up or taken away from the city. Glossy ads may urge us to look ahead to the new, but that which has been removed often lingers in our hearts and minds. ‘Redacted City’ is a photo exhibition by Henry VanderSpek featuring Toronto street scenes where words have been covered up or removed due to redevelopment or by street artists playfully expressing themselves. The images in this exhibition were captured over a period of ten years, using both digital and film cameras. Viewers are invited to consider what has been erased and to ponder what lies ahead for this redacted city.


Henry VanderSpek


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Henry VanderSpek
A Chinese food restaurant with someone sitting in front of the left side of it and a person walking towards it from the right. Many parts of the sign for the restaurant have been painted over, leaving only parts of words legible.
'Restaurant Redacted' by Henry VanderSpek
A view through a doorway looking out towards Yonge street. On the right side of the doorway is the remaining outline of the business name: House of Lords. In the middle of the street is a man walking away pulling a suitcase behind him.
'House of Lords Redacted' by Henry VanderSpek
Colour film photo of a wide scene showing what was a beer store being prepared for demolition (and make way for a new condo). The sign for the Beer Store has been painted over with black paint.
'Beer Redacted' by Henry VanderSpek
A black and white film photo showing a sidewalk in front of a store. Someone is walking away to the right holding an umbrella, with their face veered by a scarf. Above the store window is the shaded remnants that linger after the store's name has been removed. Still visible is the business' name, The Anti-Aging Shop.
'Anti-Aging Redacted' by Henry VanderSpek
Two men sit on opposite ends of a bench in front of a clothing store called "New Mark". A significant section of text below the store's name has been painted over with black paint.
'New Mark Redacted' by Henry VanderSpek
A blue box holding newspapers with classified ads is on the left of the scene. On the side of the paper box is listed what can be found in the paper - Jobs, Rentals, Condos, Homes Cars, Trucks. Someone has repeatedly crossed out the word "Rentals". ON the right of the scene is a blurred woman walking past, holding a yellow leash for a pet.
'Rentals Redacted' by Henry VanderSpek