Curators: Don Kwan; Meghan Ho and Catherine Sinclair
Don Kwan is a queer third-generation Chinese-Canadian artist, whose work explores place, identity, representation and family memory across time. Using a multidisciplinary approach for this exhibition, Kwan engages with the City of Ottawa’s Firestone Collection of Canadian Art (FCCA).
Reflecting upon modernist depictions of landscape in Canada, Kwan explores legacies of inclusion and exclusion, rooted in land-based settler colonialism. Whether landscape, abstraction, or portraiture, 20th-century Canadian modernism, which is the basis of the FCCA, was founded at a time when discriminatory policies such as the Chinese Exclusion Act were in place, affecting the participation of Chinese-Canadian artists in artistic circles.
As such, within a process of reclamation, research and exchange with Ottawa Art Gallery (OAG) curators, Kwan brings his selection from the FCCA into dialogue with his own artistic practice, which considers family and memory. Through a discourse on iconic “Canadian” and “Chinese” images and objects, and examination of his own family’s history of more than a century in Canada, Kwan considers the question: What does it look like to belong in the Canadian landscape?
This exhibition is part of the OAG’s Firestone Reverb series, in which contemporary artists are invited to respond to the FCCA by putting new work into conversation with this well-known collection of historical art.
With support from TD Bank Group
This exhibition was realized with the support of the City of Ottawa, the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts, as well as the RBC Foundation’s support of the OAG’s Connect: Artist Mentorship Program.
A Portrait of the Artist with Lantern in the Landscape, 2019, digital photograph. Photo: J. Cameron. Courtesy of Don Kwan.
由关日安、Meghan Ho, Catherine Sinclair