I'll be performing an iteration of the performance Compass with sound artist Nancy Tam on September 1 and 2 as part of Cinevolution's Your Kontinent Digital Carnival 2017. Joining us on this 40 minute performance will be Asa Mori (technical assistance), James Proudfoot (lighting) and Cherry Wen Wen Lu (project assistance). This work explores my connection to my paternal grandmother through 4 intersecting directions history, home, myth, and the archive.
I've contributed some dark and playful charcoal and graphite illustrations as part of Shirley Camia's new collection of poetry called Children Shouldn't Use Knives which will be out this November with At Bay Press. Looks like we have a book launch January 7, 2018 at Paper Hound in Vancouver. More details on pre-ordering the book soon.
My muti-media installation dawn to dust is up in Kelowna until June 23 at the Alternator Centre for Contemporary Art. This work reworks memory-based drawings by my father and his siblings of a time that isn't necessarily 'recorded' when after the internment of Japanese Canadians they 'chose' repatriation to Japan in the areas of Fukuouka and Shizuouka from 1946 to about the late 1950s/early 1960s when they all returned back to Canada. The drawings and stories are the basis of a piece called dawn to dust which originally began as a short fiction work told in the perspective of a mutt dog, a statue, a mejiro bird, a ghost, and a house snake. The audio fiction plays with 5 intimate animated movies set in tiny architectural structures. Once again a large group of collaborators has helped to make this work possible (please visit the project section to see the names of everyone!) I originally began production for this in 2013 the year when my father passed suddenly. The project sat dormant in a state of limbo for some time (with majority of it finished) and I'm pleased to be able to take this opportunity to realize it in this phase.
In the chapter called Paper a woman named K is meticulously remembering to make the best shijimi soup and kakiage tempura. On days she runs out of rice, she quickly transforms her daily special into an udon soup with left over noodles that sustain and feed hungry mouths of fisherman for the rest of the day until the pink ruby sunset magically happens. She knows then that her shift is done. This is what K does day in and out, on a strange and mysterious island of Kayashima in the 1960s’ Japan.
When Sherri and I spoke out some of the public programs that would happen around the exhibition, we talked about a way to connect the seniors in the neighbouring Nikkei Home and the possibility of including food. I thought about the character K and her role in narrative, her dedication to maintaining a taste - in the story, I write that she’s mastering of her soup. A taste that would last a long, long time; serving the same customers – a taste that I hope as the narrator sustains in the dream world I have written around her.
Oishii (the Japanese word for delicious) is the thematic of a series of 4 drawing and tasting exercises/workshops that were offered to the seniors ranging from 89-103 years old – some with varying levels of dementia. What the workshops consisted of was a weekly drawing activity and an edible snack or a cup of olfactory experiences to tease out a memory. My good friend and artist Elizabeth Mackenzie first introduced to me to this idea of ‘drawing as a social activity.' Drawing not to master but to share in a common space and continue a sustained, collaborative activity - while we eat, talk, laugh, frustrate, etc. It’s been a huge learning experience but one that I'm not unfamiliar with. Working with Shako Club a few years back, I feel the deep connections and my need as an artist sometimes to break away from the fast paced-ness of production and to sit with elders and to slow down and be present. I'm also bestowed and the startling outcomes and all the unexpected things, and of course all the new connections that nourish me and my practice but I hope also everyone involved.
Hope you can all make it to the opening of my exhibition Rock, Paper, Scissors at the Nikkei National Museum and Cultural Centre Saturday Feb 4 from 12-3. There's a special limited lunch that you should all pre-order in advance!