Ancestral Dreams & Other Premonitions: Cindy Mochizuki
Cindy Mochizuki, Autumn Strawberry, 2021, animation still.

Ancestral Dreams & Other Premonitions: Cindy Mochizuki

Kamloops Art Gallery, Kamloops, BC - To July 6

by Michael Turner

Born in Vancouver, BC, in 1976, Cindy Mochizuki is a fourth-generation (Yonsei) Japanese Canadian artist whose installations draw on animation, audio fiction, theatre and performance. For the first survey exhibition of Mochizuki’s practice, KAG curator Charo Neville selected four works reflective of the artist’s community-based, research-oriented approach to story recovery and the processes by which her works are composed. A key component of Mochizuki’s work is also its most variable: site specificity.

Of her more recent works, Tides & Moons: Herring Capital (2022) was commissioned by the Nanaimo Art Gallery and Autumn Strawberry (2021) grew out of a residency at the Surrey Art Gallery. Both weave themes that include pre-war histories of food production, marginalized Japanese labour in BC, and the wartime Canadian government’s systemic racist policies deployed through confiscations of property and internment. These policies, Mochizuki shows us, continued post-war through justifications and official refusals to fairly compensate those who not only had their homes and businesses taken from them, but their family heirlooms and photo albums as well.

At the opening-night interview, available on the gallery’s YouTube channel, Mochizuki mentions the confiscation and destruction of photographs following the events of December 7, 1941: how apart from “government-sanctioned photographs,” life before internment was suddenly “pictureless.” The same could be said of internment, where possession of a camera was forbidden. Thus, many of the images that appear in Mochizuki’s installations come from remembrances shared by Japanese Canadians she called out to. She tells us: “You will find inside this body of work that I’ve leaned into animation as something that comes from the body. It’s a repetitive drawn gesture of a story and it’s a different way of upholding that image.”

Artist’s talk June 1, 2–3pm

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