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.
Voice actor: Samantha Lawson
Spatial Audio Production: Tom Slater, Call & Response
Programmer and A/V consultant: Darren Miller
Moon Poetics 4 Courageous Earth Critters and Dangerous Day Dreamers features excerpts from Adrienne Marie Brown’s book Emergent Strategy (2017), Hwang Sok-Yong’s novel Princess Bari (2007), and Bruce Lee’s 1971 interview with Pierre Berton (quote originally written by Stirling Dale Silliphant).
Zadie Xa: Moon Poetics 4 Courageous Earth Critters and Dangerous Day Dreamers is created with support from Remai Modern and Leeds Art Gallery, and is organized at Remai Modern by Rose Bouthillier, Curator (Exhibitions), and at Leeds Art Gallery by Holly Grange, Exhibitions Curator. The exhibition will open at Leeds Art Gallery on March 19, 2021. The sound component of the installation was commissioned by Somerset House Studios for ASSEMBLY 2020, and can be experienced online at www.assembly2020.co.