This fall, Remai Modern presents a new body of work by Vancouver-born, London-based artist Zadie Xa. Moon Poetics 4 Courageous Earth Critters and Dangerous Day Dreamers opens October 24 in the museum’s Connect Gallery and marks the artist’s first solo museum project in Canada. The exhibition is produced in partnership with Leeds Art Gallery, where it will travel in 2021.
Zadie Xa combines sculpture, painting, light and sound to create immersive multi-media experiences. Drawing from a range of fields including ecology, science fiction and ancient religions, she explores how beings imagine and inhabit their worlds. Moon Poetics 4 Courageous Earth Critters and Dangerous Day Dreamers tells the story of animal kinship as a survival strategy to save an ailing planet. The work is loosely based on the Korean shamanic tale of Princess Bari, who travels to the underworld in search of life-saving water to cure her dying parents. In Xa’s installation, the audience acts as the protagonist, taken on a journey through multiple dimensions by five guides: Conch, Orca, Seagull, Cabbage and Fox. These creatures speak to the damages caused by humankind’s reckless behaviour, impacting the sea, air and land. They call on the audience to recognize the interconnectedness of every lifeform on Earth and to take healing actions, before it is too late.
Zadie Xa was born and raised in Vancouver on unceded Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, Musqueam, and Tsleil-Waututh territory, and is now based in London, UK. Her work is informed by her experiences within the Korean diaspora, as well as the environmental and cultural context of the Pacific Northwest. Forces of distance and relation—familial, cultural, spiritual—shape her constantly evolving notions of self. Her work often features garments, including cloaks and masks, used for performance, protection or ceremony. Xa’s practice is highly collaborative, and she has developed ongoing exchanges with dancers, musicians and actors. Since 2006, Xa has worked closely with artist Benito Mayor Vallejo. For this installation, Mayor Vallejo crafted five sculptures in dialogue with Xa’s textile pieces.
This new work furthers Xa’s ongoing engagement with the powerful complexities of interspecies communication, matriarchal social structures and ancestral homelands, most recently explored in Child Of Magohalmi and the Echos of Creation, which originated as a performance and installation for London’s Art Night 2019, and travelled as an exhibition between co-commissioning venues Yarat Contemporary Art Space, Baku, Azerbaijan; Tramway, Glasgow; and De La Warr Pavillion, Bexhill on Sea, UK.
Moon Poetics 4 Courageous Earth Critters and Dangerous Day Dreamers is created with support from Remai Modern and Leeds Art Gallery. The exhibition is organized at Remai Modern by Rose Bouthillier, Curator (Exhibitions) and will be on view October 24, 2020-Febuary 21, 2021. The exhibition is organized at Leeds Art Gallery by Holly Grange, Exhibitions Curator, and will be on view March 18–June 5, 2021.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a commissioned text by Sarah Shin, founder of New Suns, a curation and storytelling project from feminist perspectives and practices, and a co-founder of Silver Press and Ignota Books. The sound component of the exhibition was commissioned by Somerset House Studios for ASSEMBLY 2020 and can be experienced at www.assembly2020.co.