Current Exhibition


Collection Close-up: Cynthia J. Smith’s Anthology of a Facelift

April 22 - June 30, 2024

Above: Cynthia J. Smith, Anthology of a Facelift (1988), silver gelatin print, Collection of the City of Richmond

Without its title Anthology of a Facelift, this dramatically lit black-and-white photograph of a woman wearing a paper bag covering her face would be highly ambiguous. It is one of several portraits from Cynthia J. Smith’s Redressing the Crone (c. 1991), a photographic series documenting women about to undergo or who had undergone plastic surgery. This project pointedly yet empathetically addresses such themes as the fear of aging and the pursuit of the fountain of youth, in tandem with the beauty norms faced by women within a patriarchal society.

For Smith, it was important that her subjects—usually family, friends, and friends of friends— had agency during the project. She described the creative process as a collaborative one, where the women agreed to share their experiences, which were “given expression through the medium of photography.” Explaining how Anthology of a Facelift came about, the artist wrote, “The woman told me she imagined wearing a paper bag over her head to aid her self-confidence when appearing in public so I photographed her before her facelift wearing a paper bag.” 

The presentation of this photograph in the Gallery’s Page Hope-Smith Art Lounge is part of a new initiative Collection Close-up wherein we highlight a work from the Permanent Collection, which has a formal or thematic link to the featured exhibition(s). To find out more about the Collection, please visit:


Above: Cynthia J. Smith, Anthology of a Facelift (1988), silver gelatin print, Collection of the City of Richmond


Sunday 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM
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Tuesday 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
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Thursday 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
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Saturday 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM

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7700 Minoru Gate
Richmond, BC  V6Y 1R8
Canada Line Station: Richmond-Brighouse


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