Summer Residency Series

 | MAY 9 - AUGUST 31, 2018

This summer four artists will be working in the John and Maggie Mitchell Art Gallery and engaging the local community through performances, workshops and other relational practices. The Mitchell is pleased to support these local, national, and international artists with dedicated space and time to develop their respective art practices and build meaningful relationships with local artists and community members.


Halie Finney

May 9 - June 8

Headshot HalieHalie Finney understands her Metis heritage through memories told to her by her family and through the unchanged characteristics of her home's landscape and lifestyle. She aims to create fantasy-like reflections and recollections of the Lesser Slave Lake region and the people who have resided there. Personalities, landscapes, and lifestyles are lovingly exaggerated and simplified. Finney’s original characters exist in non-linear, idiosyncratic narratives expressed through animations, costumes, paintings, performances and other objects. She is a MacEwan alumni and a recent graduate from the Alberta College of Art + Design and currently resides in Edmonton.

During the residency, Finney is experimenting with new materials, new perspectives, and more innovative ways of using an overhead projector to further her performance practice. The artist is developing the third act of a performance series about Loonette the Ghost and House-Head the Home, characters based on her Grandma (the active ghost) and Grandpa (the sturdy house).

This past year, my Grandpa passed away from Parkinson's Disease. After pre-mourning him through my work for past three years I am now working on how to deal with his passing in my work. Up until recently, all of my grieving and mourning experiences were tied to family dogs. Dogs have been associated with death – either positively or negatively – throughout history and I'd love to find more ways how that relates to my work. In my gang of characters there is a dog figure that I've been itching to develop and I think that this residency would be the perfect opportunity. He will be the focus, with Loonette and House-Head both heavily involved.



Olivia Chow

June 11 – July 13

Headshot Olivia

Photo by: Leo Li Chen

Olivia Chow is an artist and curator based in Hong Kong. Chow’s methodologies in her artistic and curatorial practice concentrate on communal activities and installations that build on audience relations and their social context to construct a new experience. She is inspired by her relations with everyday domestic and social encounters that occur in the transcultural world.

While in residence at the gallery, Chow will reach out to the local communities and families of colour in Edmonton, ask to be invited to visit their homes to share a meal, andl earn about their backgrounds, family history, rituals, traditions through casual conversations, exchanging stories and sharing food. Through this research, the artist hopes to acquire first-hand knowledge to expand on the themes of identity and home through direct interaction with local diaspora's domesticity.

The research will enhance the work that I have started in the form of a series of writings about my relationship with Canada and Hong Kong, two places I have deep roots in. The writings explore a collection of reflections on personal memories, fragmented happenings associated with food.



Florence Yee

July 16 – August 17

Headshot FlorenceFlorence Yee is a 2.5 generation, Cantonese-struggling visual artist based in Tiohtià:ke/Montreal, unceded Mohawk territory. Having graduated from her BFA at Concordia University, she works with community groups for visual culture, such as articule and La Centrale, both artist-run centres, and the Ethnocultural Art Histories Research group (EAHR). Her interest in Cantonese-Canadian history has fueled an art practice committed to dismantling institutional and casual ideals of Eurocentric patriarchy, as well as examining the daily life of her diaspora. She is represented by Studio Sixty-Six and Centerfold Gallery.

Yee’s practice traces the transformation of diasporic Cantonese signifiers into kitsch, as well as their site-specific histories. She is interested in how this false sense of nostalgia operates differently between members of the community versus members outside of that community.

As MacEwan University is close to Edmonton’s Chinatown, my summer research [will] delve into its commercialized and historical parts in relation to academia and curatorial representations of the “Other.”

I [will] continue my research to be specific to Edmonton’s Cantonese-Canadian history, and the community’s use of kitsch and cultural decoys. My interdisciplinary installations would mimic private and public spaces, questioning belonging and our daily cultivations of nostalgia. These would include making stuffed versions of kitsch, non-functional furniture, embroidered tissues, overly-saran-wrapped objects, staged rooms, amongst others.



Courtney Surmanek

August 11 - 31

Headshot Courntey

Photo by: Victor G. Jeffreys

Courtney is a multidisciplinary artist and organizer working across the fields of art and public engagement. They create installation artworks, performance-poetry, and community-based initiatives informed by studies at the intersection of law, trauma, public space, and gender and sexuality. They're currently exploring art as a vehicle for social change as a Fellow of the Hemispheric Institute for Performance and Politics and The Performance Project at University Settlement. They received a BFA in Studio Art and Arts Politics from New York University, and have participated in art residencies and intensives with The Art & Law Program, the Center for Artistic Activism at the Queens Museum, the Institute for Community Action at Gibney Dance, and Queer Resistance Writer’s Workshop at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art. They have exhibited work, performed, and organized events in community spaces and venues across New York, including the Bowery Poetry Club, Islip Art Museum, Judson Memorial Church, the Knockdown Arts Center, the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, the Lowline Lab, and Theaterlab.

In the United States, Surmanek is conducting an oral history project called 1,000 Bridges that reveals how systemic oppression determines the planning of cities and provides a unique window into America’s working class. Stories come from the individuals that were and are affected by the regulatory power of infrastructure, the relatives of construction workers that labored to create these feats of engineering, and the workers maintaining these failing relics.

Through the residency, I will work on this project while also drawing connections between U.S. cities and Edmonton. Acknowledging that a neighborhood’s landscape can exclude as effectively as any policy or person, I will use a variety movement exercises and theatre games in and around the neighbourhood of the John and Maggie Mitchell Art Gallery to stir discussion regarding the psychological effects of city planning. I will conduct oral histories in the gallery space that ask individuals to name an architectural facet of Edmonton that resonates, and I will then visit these sites and construct a series of Ground Truthing Tours to assess the locations brought up during the oral histories.