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Pia Massie

Discipline: Film / Video
Homebase: Vancouver
Languages: English

Pia Massie is a teacher and multi-media artist whose work has been exhibited in festivals, museums and galleries throughout North America and Europe, including The Museum of Modern Art, NYC and the grunt gallery in Vancouver, BC. She received a BA from Harvard and an MFA from RISD. She has taught at at the following institutions in Vancouver: Pull Focus, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver Film School, Gulf Islands Film and Television School, ArtStarts, Pacific Cinematheque and Access to Media Education Society. She help start Parsons MFADT program in New York, where she was a professor for eight years.


To me, one of Pia's great strengths as an artist is her ability to 'essentialize' ideas. She has an extraordinarily nimble mind that attacks ideas and information, sifting through and distilling content into its most important component parts. Nzingha Clarke, Writer and Educator
Pia Massie's work involves telling anomalies. Her unexpected collisions often occur between the natural and the man-made, and stand for an ongoing duality between the tough and the tender. But her motivation is less the pleasure of plundering than a desire to make whole. By making an art of connections she practices a kind of healing and masters a world experienced in terms of disjunctions and dissociations. Individual pieces are rich in emotional associations, triggering ruminations on gender politics, history, time, memory and death. Katy Kline, Curator, The List Visual Art Centre

Project Examples

Belonging to a Place: What is Home?

Weaving the environmental issues of today with the history of the bounty of this corner of the Pacific Northwest, this workshop questions the ideas of rights, responsibilities and sustainability of the land we all call home. Using film, contemporary online media and personal histories, the discussion seeks to have each student map their idea of home and belonging.

Beyond Us and Them

Massie's film Just Beyond Hope: Women's internment stories looks at a part of BC's history that many would rather forget. Recently mandated to be part of the province's social studies curriculum, the study of displacement and internment of Japanese Canadians during WW2 unfortunately finds numerous echoes in the contemporary global politics. The Nikkei Centre is working to create teacher resource guides and activities, resource books, literature circle reading guide, and original documents to accompany the video. A Q&A with the filmmaker after viewing select 'chapters' of the film is what grounds the history in the personal, present, lived lives of the students.

Water is Life

Using film, photography and coordinated field trip(s) - depending on the time duration of the project - the classroom teacher(s) and the artist will engage the students in a greater awareness and appreciation of and for their natural environment. Spanning both art and science curriculum in a hands on digital photography project, Water is Life, will provide students with greater environmental knowledge, digital picture making skills and a set of follow up films for extended classroom discussions. The last version of this class culminated in the students work being exhibited at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

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