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(Da bao)(Takeout)

Explore the cultural exchange between China and Canada through the filter of take-away culture.

From painting to photography and sculpture to video installation, the artworks in (Da bao)(Takeout) are inspired by such diverse cultural forms and subject matter as shadow theatre, mushroom farming, tai chi, urban development, cooking, and rickshaws. This group exhibition at the Surrey Art Gallery explores both the cross-cultural and social dynamic between China and the West, specifically Canada. It focuses on the work of artists who investigate, adapt, and instill ideas from abroad into their practices; their interpretations are transferred from one ethnicity to another.

Centered on the metaphor of take-away food culture (in Mandarin ‘da bao’ refers to take-out food) the art on display presents ironic, critical, and humorous perspectives on the import and export of culture, people, and ideas. The seventeen artists in this exhibition are a mix of second- or third-generation Chinese-Canadians, Chinese who have travelled abroad to study art, and Canadians who have travelled to China for residencies or exhibitions. They share the experience of being ‘taken out’ of familiar environments and encountering a strikingly different culture. While their individual voices are unique, collectively they speak to issues of cultural transference, highlighting the gaps, distances, and misunderstandings inherent in communication across cultural divides.

Artists: Sara Angelucci and Han Xu, John Armstrong and Paul Collins, Cathy Busby, Gang Chen, Brendan Fernandes, Nan Hao, Ming Hon, Knowles Eddy Knowles, Laiwan, Minjeong Oh, Ed Pien, Laurens Tan, Xiaojing Yan, Elsie Shen Yi, and Zhang Zhaohui.

Curator: Shannon Anderson and Doug Lewis
Origin of Exhibition: Varley Art Gallery of Markham

Image credit: Visitors experiencing the artwork at the opening reception of (Da bao)(Takeout) at Surrey Art Gallery. Photo by Scarlet Black.