Vancouver’s ‘Spectacular’ Signage and the Birth of Gianthropology

Wednesday April 21, 2021

7pm – 8pm

Register here, $10


Join Vancouver Heritage Foundation and The Giant Hand and The Birth of Gianthropology artist Henri Robideau for a crash-course on the city’s larger-than-life signage. We will discuss Henri’s large-scale photo-based artwork for The WALL public art installation and discover how Vancouver became the birthplace of Gianthropology.

While Vancouver’s Neon period from 1925 to 1960 is perhaps the city’s most heralded example of its transition from gloomy, rain-soaked sawmill town to vibrant metropolis, the blackouts of World War II led to a new category of no-neon outdoor advertising known as “Spectaculars”. The hand of enormous proportions that stood atop McGavin’s bakery from 1949 through 1973 inspired Henri’s life-long photographic study of humanity’s attraction to bigness, a new science he called Gianthropology. In this engaging hour-long event, Henri will discuss the basic Gianthropological research structure and define the difference between merely big and giant, as well as share stories from his Gianthropologic ‘digs’ that led to the creation of his 1980 exhibition, Giant Things.

Details of how to join this event will be provided to registered participants. If you have not received the connection email two days before the event, please let us know at

This event is part of the 2021 Capture Photography Festival Events Program.

About the Speaker

Henri Robideau is a photographer and cultural narrator whose practice is grounded in history and
animated by the events of our times. His lifelong involvement in photography incorporates more
than fifty years of teaching, professional production for many of Canada’s leading artists and
personal art creation incorporating photographic imagery and handwritten narrative text. Henri Robideau’s photography has been exhibited and collected both in Canada and internationally. He lives and works in Vancouver respectfully on the unceded ancestral territory of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Peoples.

To learn more about The WALL and Henri Robideau’s installation, The Giant Hand and the Birth of Gianthropology (pictured left), click here