Zadie Xa combines sculpture, painting, light and sound to create immersive multimedia 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.
FEATURED ON CURA.31, READ MORE ABOUT ZADIE XA HERE. TEXT BY Rose Bouthillier