Zadie Xa

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Year of Birth

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Puerto Rico

Agustina Ferreyra

Zadie Xa (b. 1983)

Zadie Xa was born and raised in Vancouver, Canada on unceded Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, Musqueam, and Tsleil-Waututh territory. Her work 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.

This new body work, deepens the artist’ ongoing exploration of animal kinship as a survival strategy to save an ailing planet, and furthers her engagement with the powerful complexities of interspecies communication, matriarchal social structures and ancestral homelands.The creatures featured in each of the works, speak to the damages caused by humankind’s reckless behavior, impacting the sea, air and land. They also invite us to recognize the interconnectedness of every lifeforms on Earth and to take healing actions, before it is too late.

Bringing together paintings and textiles, Zadie Xa’s presentation explores the way subterfuge, shape shifting and narrative storytelling can be used to explore personal and collective histories. Theatrical staging, costume design and personalized mythology become the vehicle by which relationships to ancestral communities, human or other are revealed, highlighting our connection to each other via the other worldly.

As part of White Chapel's Gallery conversation series: Ways of Knowing: Water / Fluidity, Zadie Xa discusses recent projects, and recurring presences in her practice such as Korean folk tales, orcas and ancient powers where the significance of the sea to diasporic identities is centered.

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Zadie Xa

"The Word for Water is Whale" (2021)
HD video 21 min 18 secs

"The Word for Water is Whale" explores the interconnectedness of memory, travel and knowledge transmission via deep listening, required to further understand our world and those with whom we share it. How can different forms of knowledge production, which may once have been widespread, be adapted back into the way we interface with one another? What information – spiritual, technological or otherwise – happens at a cellular level as sonic waves ebb and flow across water? And finally, what are the unearthed na ...

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