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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

EVENTS GUIDE: Romance in Saint John, EAST goes EAST

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I grew up on the outskirts of Saint John, and then began my art practice in the centre of it. The city for me came to be defined as conservative, blue-collar, United Empire Loyalist, gritty, and, thanks to Elsie Wayne, the charismatic longterm mayor, “the Greatest Little City in the East.” I often wondered then: What was Saint John being compared to? And just how far east was East? For example, isn’t Halifax a greater “little city in the east”? Part of the genesis for East goes East is the questioning of that geographical thinking, the desire to look a little further east...” -Chris Lloyd, Montréal, 2011 [excerpt from East goes East catalogue]

SAINT JOHN – EAST goes EAST is a series of contemporary art and community events which features visiting artists Karen Tam (Montreal), Kitsum Cheng (Vancouver) and Suzanne Caines (Halifax) on until the end of February in Saint John, NB. Overall, EAST goes EAST investigates cultural differences and perceptions of Orientalism through the lens of art, including an exhibition, artist talks, performances and workshops.

The final event features Atlantic artist, Suzanne Caines who has re-created her video-documented performance – Romance in China, originally created in Beijing in 2009 – into Romance in Saint John. From February 3 – 7, the public had the opportunity to take part in the artist’s investigations into private experiences within the public sphere.

Ultimately, Caines pondered – “how will the change in locale alter the meaning of the work, which is based on communication, exchange and the search for authenticity?” Find out tonight – February 8 at 5pm at the Mary Oland Theatre, New Brunswick Museum, when the resulting video work, Romance in Saint John will be launched. Caines will also be completing a comparative installation on King Street, in the days following the screening which will be projected until the end of February.

WHAT: Romance in Saint John, East goes East
WHEN: Tuesday, February 8, 2011 at 5pm
WHERE: Mary Oland Theatre, New Brunswick Museum

For EAST goes EAST, Karen Tam, collaborative work worked directly with actual Chinese restaurants in Saint John, creating customized menus, posters, audio playlists, film screenings and decorations. The work can still be found at a few Chinese  Restaurants around town until the end of February. KitSum Cheng organized a group exhibition of artworks from Third Space members, the general public and herself that opened on January 24. The exhibition culminated in a veneration ceremony for the dead on the evening of Chinese New Year, February 3, during which the artworks were burned outdoors at Market Slip.

For additional information including artist bios and contact information, please visit Third Space Gallery.

The only artist-run centre for contemporary art in Saint John, Galerie Tiers-espace / Third Space Gallery is an interdisciplinary and exhibition and performance roving interstices space committed to representing local, regional and national professional contemporary artists.

Image care of Third Space Gallery.