Cindy Mochizuki, Autumn Strawberry, 2021, animation still. Photo courtesy of artist.

Experience life on local Japanese Canadian farms in the twentieth century prior to WWII with hand-painted and digital animation.

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Surrey Art Gallery - 13750 88 Ave

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This multimedia installation takes visitors back in time to Japanese Canadian farms in the twentieth century prior to WWII. Autumn Strawberry emerges from Cindy Mochizuki's artist residency at Surrey Art Gallery in 2019. Mochizuki met with dozens of Nisei and Sansei (second and third generation) Japanese Canadians whose parents and grandparents had owned or worked on agricultural farms across the Fraser Valley. These sites included Strawberry Hill/Surrey, Mission, Haney, Langley, and Maple Ridge. Combining archival research with these collected stories of farm life, Autumn Strawberry weaves together a series of short vignettes imagined through a 60 minute hand-painted and digital animation projected onto the Gallery’s walls and screens. Visitors will see life on these farms—women pickling, children polishing chicken eggs, and men picking berries. Mochizuki combines real with imagined characters and storylines in keeping with her art practice of historical re-creation.              

In addition to the large-scale projections, sculptural tree stumps and pieces of barn flats are scattered throughout the Gallery floor. You're invited to peek inside and watch animations on smaller projections that move from everyday farm life to a creaturely, future world of trees and lively insects. The trees’ ghostly presence recalls the “dream of riches” that motivated many Isseis (first generation Japanese immigrants) to come to Canada, while also bringing to light the harsh reality of their participation in deforestation processes (tree stumping) to clear the land so they could plant their berry fields. These farms would later lie abandoned and then sold to support the construction of their internment camps during WWII when the government forcibly removed Japanese Canadians from the west coast of British Columbia.

Along with Henry Tsang: Hastings Park, Cindy Mochizuki: Autumn Strawberry uses camera and projection technologies in unexpected ways to illuminate forgotten images and histories.

About the Artist

Cindy Mochizuki creates multimedia installation, audio fiction, performance, animation, and drawings. Her works explore the manifestation of story and its relationship to site-specificity, invisible histories, archives, and memory work. She has exhibited, performed, and screened her work in Canada, US, Australia, and Japan. Recent exhibitions include the Vancouver Art Gallery, Burrard Arts Foundation, Richmond Art Gallery, Frye Art Museum, and Yonago City Museum. She was the recipient of the Vancouver’s Mayor’s Arts Award in New Media and Film (2015) and the Jack and Doris Shadbolt Foundation for the Visual Arts VIVA Award (2020).

Animation Digital Compositing & Studio Assistance: Cherry Wen Wen Lu

Editor: Candelario Andrade

Sound Design and Composition: Nancy Tam

Carpentry: Minoru Yamamoto

New Media Playback System Designer/Projection Advisor: Sammy Chien

Lighting Design: James Proudfoot

Choreography: Lisa Mariko Gelley

Textile/Costume Design: Leah Weinstein

Taiko: E. Kage

Shakuhachi: Takeo Yamashiro

Accordion: Mishelle Cuttler

Foley: Cindy Kao

Violin: Molly MacKinnon

Curator: Jordan Strom

Origin of Exhibition: Surrey Art Gallery

Community Partners: Powell Street Festival in Vancouver and Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre in Burnaby