Xiao Han: Dough Nation at AKA
Curated by Derek Sandbeck
Community-based Billboard project
May and June 2022
Over the past few years AKA has been fostering a close connection with our neighbour, Jin Jin Cuisine, beginning with the project Entertaining Every Second by Life of a Craphead in January of 2019. Their new Saskatoon-based work Until Either One Closes forged an agreement between AKA and Jin Jin Cuisine, the restaurant next door, for all openings and events at the gallery to be catered by Jin Jin Cuisine for the rest of time, until either one of the businesses closes (or moves). In 2022, Xiao Han builds upon this relationship.
Dough Nation is a community-based art project by Xiao Han in collaboration with Jin Jin Cuisine and the Riversdale Community Fridge Project. From May through June, Dough Nation takes the form of a billboard on AKA and PAVED Arts shared billboard space, an artist-led community partnership, and an artist studio with Kyuubi Culture (Xiao Han and Qiming Sun). As a gesture of community care and connection Han is organizing a series of food sharing days throughout the duration of the project, where Jin Jin will provide weekly drop offs of food to the community fridge. Through this, Han aims to connect the diverse cultural cuisines within the Riversdale district through a common ingredient, Dough – an essential component for many iconic dishes across various cultures, such as pancakes, stir-fry noodles, perogies, chow-mein, and doughnuts.
Dough Nation aspires to create an intercultural dialogue of mutual understanding and compassion through the act of food sharing. With the intent that this interactive project can raise awareness and spark discussions on several societal issues surrounding core neighborhoods in Saskatoon, specifically community care and food security. This project is also an opportunity for the community to demonstrate their appreciation and final sendoff for Jing Jin Cuisine, which has provided the Riversdale community with wholesome and authentic Northern Chinese food for the past decade.
Whether contributing or receiving in this project, all participants are encouraged to leave their messages on the notebook inside the fridge, forming dialogues between the community and the chefs who prepared these dough-based delicacies.
Xiao Han is a Wuhan-Saskatoon-Toronto-based artist, curator and art-writer. With photography, Han’s artwork focuses on politics, gender issues and explores crossing cultures between Canada and China based on her experience.
As an independent curator, Han has curated numerous exhibitions with artists and art institutions between Canada and China. Han is a recipient of grants such as the Catalyst Grant University of Saskatchewan and SK Arts. 2017 Summer, Han’s public photography “Yee Clun” is installed in Regina Arts Park permanently. This project reflects the lost story in Regina, 1924, a Chinese immigrant and restaurant owner Yee Clun challenged the racist “Saskatchewan’s White Women’s Labour Law” in Regina. 2019 Fall, Han（via. Kyuubi Culture）curated their latest public art project with the Chinese guest artist Li Wan at Nuit Blanche, Saskatoon. 2020 Fall, Han (via. Kyuubi Culture) hosts an online-artist-book-club during the pandemic. 2021, Han’s upcoming exhibition “Artist and Asian-Restaurant” is a collaborative project in the community with the Riversdale BID; partners include Asian restaurants on 20th street, AKA Artist-Run Center and the other art communities in Saskatoon.
Jin Jin Tote
As an extension of Dough Nation, AKA is producing a limited edition Jin Jin tote bag with Xiao Han. In celebration of the project and partnership with the Riversdale Community Fridge Project, half of all proceeds from each tote will be donated back into the community fridge! Additionally each purchase will come with a free membership to AKA!
Tote bags are $20 each and you can find them for purchase on our website or come by in person and purchase at the office!
AKA is an artist-run centre operating on Treaty Six Land that encompasses the traditional homeland of numerous First Nations, including Cree, Dene, Plains Cree, Nakota, Saulteaux, and Ojibwe, and the homeland of the Métis Nation.
AKA’s gallery space is currently operating as community artist studios. Visit our website for a full listing of current projects.
Office hours by appointment Thursday and Friday 10am to 2pm.
Projects and events are free and open to the public