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October 14, 2023 @ 12:00 pm
Saturday, January 13 @ 5:00 pm
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Southern Alberta Art Gallery Maansiksikaitsitapiitsinikssin
(403) 327-8770
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Southern Alberta Art Gallery Maansiksikaitsitapiitsinikssin
601 3 Ave S
Lethbridge, Alberta T1J 0H4 Canada
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(403) 327-8770
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The figure of the bat is the focal point of Gabi Dao’s solo exhibition What breaks on the horizon? Utilizing dramatic video installations, sculptural interventions, and a new series of ceramic and textile marionettes, Dao considers the bat at a unique set of intersections between ecology and economy, pestilence and good fortune, sight and sound, and alienation and belonging. Utilizing the medium of the marionette, Dao’s bat marionettes are posed throughout the gallery and feature prominently in their videos, drawing upon a long history of puppetry as an educational, satirical, and transgressive dramatic medium.

In the feature video installation Lucifer Falls from Heaven at Dawn, a bat marionette named Lucifer falls to Earth at the foot of Turtle Mountain in Blairmore, Alberta. The collapsed limestone mountain is a shattered backdrop for Lucifer’s journey through the vestiges of resource extraction and settler colonialism on the prairies. Lucifer’s journey moves over land and through time on a journey to find the Others, the other bat species that Lucifer seeks to reconnect with. Along the way, Lucifer encounters biologists who are also searching for the Others but with technologies that heighten their audio and visual abilities.

The videos and the exhibition as a whole not only question how conservation efforts determine what beings deserve our resources and protection, but the intentions of conservation more broadly. Dao points to a tension between the motives of ecological protection and saviourism, critiquing the dominance of Enlightenment thinking, the scientific method, Christian theology, value, and redemption.

Gabi Dao was the Southern Alberta Art Gallery Maansiksikaitsitapiitsinikssin’s Gushul Studio Artist in Residence for 2022. The Gushul Residency is a long-standing program that invites artists from around the world to visit the mountain town of Blairmore, Alberta in preparation for an exhibition at the Gallery.

An exhibition text by Godfre Leung will accompany the presentation of the exhibition.

Curated by Adam Whitford, Associate Curator

Gabi Dao (Canadian, b. 1991) is an artist and organizer currently based in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Dao’s research-based practice culminates in collage, sculpture, sound and moving image installations. They also generate olfactory experiences in both their installations and their small-batch perfume business, PPL’S PERFUME. Through non-linear conceptions of memory, time and truth, Dao confronts Western ocularcentrism and the rigid binarism of capitalism. Dao also engages with writing and community building in their work.

Dao graduated Summa Cum Laude with an MFA from the Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam and received the Master Fine Art Research Award (2023). They also hold a BFA from Emily Carr University. Dao was shortlisted for the Sobey Art Award (2021) and received the Portfolio Prize Award for Emerging Artists (2016). They have exhibited in galleries and artist-run spaces across Canada, Asia and Europe, including solo exhibitions at grunt gallery and Spare Room, Vancouver; as well as group exhibitions at A Tale of a Tub, Rotterdam; the Vincom Centre for Contemporary Art, Hà Nội, Vietnam; Centre Clark, Montreal; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; Kamias Triennale, Quezon City, Philippines; Nanaimo Art Gallery; Libby Leshgold Gallery at Emily Carr University, Vancouver; Burnaby Art Gallery; Vancouver Art Gallery; Audain Gallery at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver; Western Front, Vancouver; Artspeak, Vancouver; 221a, Vancouver.