Give Birth Love Tooth: Art Action Earwig
Art Action Earwig, Give Birth Love Tooth, 2022, digital photography. Photo: Tadafumi Tamura.

Give Birth Love Tooth: Art Action Earwig

Nanaimo Art Gallery, Nanaimo, BC - Apr 29 - Jun 25

by Michael Turner

Art Action Earwig was founded by Minah Lee and Wryly Anderson in 2020, during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Though we recognize this as a time of uncertainty and constraint, we can appreciate it in retrospect as a period of artistic improvisation and innovation. Coincident with the pandemic was an increased usage of the word “narrative” (the arrangement of events that make up a story) – as in something to follow, to resist or to change. Tadafumi Tamura joined the collective in 2022, and today we have Give Birth Love Tooth.

Described as an autobiographical documentary fiction, Give Birth Love Tooth is a multimedia exhibition that begins with a story inspired by a pair of extracted third molars (wisdom teeth, or “love teeth” in Korean). The artists write: “On That Woman’s 38th birthday, That Woman is reminded that her single mother was 38 when she gave birth to her. Her molars gain unusual abilities to express willfully forgotten and silenced memories of That Woman’s body: lost labour, language barriers, legal struggles, and longing for love. Understanding of the body, through experiences in medical, legal and institutional systems, surge a strong desire to decolonize body and mind.”

From this textual introduction the exhibition fans out into a four-channel video display of storytellers’ conversations with the Art Action Earwig collective. In addition to the video installation, the exhibition includes a series of large-scale photographic prints, sculptures, video, surround-sound projections, interactive displays and an artist’s book sharing stories of family, history and lands. Accompanying the exhibition is an extensive program of community-based performances and events. For more information, visit the gallery’s website.

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