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Saskatoon artist respectfulchild featured through annual RBC Emerging Artist Series at Remai Modern

For immediate release — October 8, 2020

SASKATOON, CANADA — On October 10, Remai Modern will debut a new work by Saskatoon artist respectfulchild through the RBC Emerging Artist Series. 落叶归根 :: falling leaves return to their roots consists of a sculptural installation at the museum, a call for public participation and an outdoor ceremony. The title of the project is drawn from a Chinese idiom, and serves as an invitation for viewers to join the artist in finding their way back to their roots, their ancestors and their histories.

respectfulchild’s ideas for this work began when they learned that the land Remai Modern sits on used to be Chinatown in the early 20th century. Discovering more about this history, the artist was struck by the emotional connection they felt to early Chinese migrants, despite not being related to them. The artist was also inspired by the Hungry Ghost Festival in Malaysia, where paper effigies are burned as offerings to provide for the needs of the ancestors.

For the project, respectfulchild is creating a large effigy of a gate. This is a nod to a proposed Riversdale Chinatown Gate in Saskatoon that was never built, while also symbolizing a portal between our world and the ancestral world. Throughout the project, the artist will cover the gate with a paper skin, each sheet containing a message to the ancestors. Everyone is invited to participate in this process by writing their own message, in person or online. The note could be an introduction, an expression of gratitude, an apology, or a promise, whatever the participant feels moved to communicate. Messages can be submitted at Remai Modern or at remaimodern.org/respectfulchild. The message portal will open to submissions on Saturday, October 10.

The culmination of the project will take place on Friday, December 18, when the gate will be burned as part of a public ceremony, opening up a connection across time and space. A conversation between the artist and special guests Marcel Petit and Shellie Zhang is also being organized for later this year. Details will be announced shortly.

“respectfulchild is one of Saskatoon’s most exciting young artists. I became familiar with their music through numerous live shows in Saskatoon—the sound experience they create is very ethereal and really draws your attention to the physical and emotional nuances of sound,” said the project’s curator Rose Bouthillier, Curator (Exhibitions) at Remai Modern. “The RBC Emerging Artist Series is an open invitation for an artist to propose something new at the museum, and it’s been an exciting opportunity for respectfulchild to expand their practice into sculptural installation as well as performance. There are some really beautiful correlations between 落叶归根 :: falling leaves return to their roots and respectfulchild’s sound practice, in terms of accumulation, contemplation and ephemerality.”

Remai Modern would like to acknowledge RBC, which provides support for the production of a new work at Remai Modern through the annual RBC Emerging Artist Series. The series was initiated when the museum opened in 2017, and alternates each year between artists based in Saskatchewan and elsewhere in Canada. To date, the series has featured work by Alexine McLeod (2017), Julie Oh (2018) and Jeneen Frei Njootli (2019).

About respectfulchild

respectfulchild is an artist born, raised, and living as an uninvited guest on Treaty 6 Territory. Working in sound, performance, and interdisciplinary collaboration, they explore the quiet tensions and chaotic beauty of being a queer Chinese settler on the Prairies.

About Remai Modern

Remai Modern is situated on Treaty 6 Territory and the Traditional Homeland of the Métis. We pay our respects to First Nations and Métis ancestors and reaffirm our relationship with one another.

Remai Modern is a new museum of modern and contemporary art in Saskatoon. The museum is committed to affirming the powerful role that art and artists play in questioning, interpreting and defining the modern era.

Open since October 2017, Remai Modern is the largest contemporary art museum in western Canada and houses a collection of more than 8,000 works, including the world’s foremost collection of Picasso linocut prints.

Remai Modern would like to acknowledge the contributions of the Frank & Ellen Remai Foundation, the Canada Council for the Arts, SaskCulture through the Sask Lotteries Fund and the City of Saskatoon.

For additional information contact:

Stephanie McKay, Communications Manager