Emily Jan


EMILY JAN (b. 1977, Los Angeles, USA) is an Edmonton-based artist and writer of Chinese-American descent. She has exhibited extensively nationally and internationally, and has written and illustrated three books. Her hyper-realistic sculptures and installations combine everyday found objects with meticulously worked raw materials to address themes around ecology, the mythology of apocalypse, and the circularity of time. As a traveller, naturalist, forager, and collector of objects and stories, she is guided in her work by the spirit of kinship and exploration.


Installation title: Traces de pas / Footsteps – (Kali Yuga I)

It is 2022: a time of record-breaking fire and flood, geopolitical chaos, ecological devastation, and an ongoing global pandemic. So when I think of walking a slow but unstoppable human movement across the landscape my mind comes to rest upon the unintended consequences of our movements, as a species, around the world.

In Traces de pas / Footsteps, this sense of foreboding expresses itself in the bodies of invasive species overtaking native species, merging into a chimera that makes its way slowly, quietly, but inexorably across vast distances, leaving a trail of tiny apocalypses in its wake.

In Hindu mythology, the Kali Yuga is the age of darkness, signaling the destruction of the world and the eventual rise of a new cycle of creation. It is my hope that both the sorrows and the wonders of living in these times are reflected in the installation, where we may pause to consider and re-consider the traces we leave upon the world around us.

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