AGO X RBC Emerging Artists Workshop: Alexa Hatanaka & Flora Shum

Composite image of art work by artists Alexa Hatanaka and Flora Shum: top image is bright white image of two hands holding a sign that says "Made in China" in english and Chinese characters in white text against an off-white page, at the top of the image are two bright windows; the bottom image by Alexa Hatanaka, a light image, closely cropped to show the back of a jacket that is printed with fish in black against a soft pink-beige.

Top: Flora Shum, Made In China, 2017. Letterpress photopolymer print on handmade cotton paper created with 3D printed watermark mould, letterpress photopolymer, 11 x 14”, edition of 25.

Bottom: Alexa Hatanaka, Yoshitaka Boiler Suit (detail), 2021. Paper garment made from Haini Kozo, collected paper rice bags, handmade pigmented gampi papers, gyotaku prints, linocut prints and kakishibu dye.

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AGO X RBC Emerging Artists Workshop: Alexa Hatanaka & Flora Shum

Wednesday, August, 25, 1 pm
AGO X RBC Emerging Artists Workshop: Alexa Hatanaka & Flora Shum

Join artists Alexa Hatanaka and Flora Shum for a workshop demonstrating gyotaku, the Japanese practice of printing fish, and a discussion about handmade paper, including washi. Gyotaku is a traditional form of Japanese art that began over 100 years ago as a way for fishers to keep a record of their catch. Typically printed on washi, Japanese paper, the artists will discuss varieties and applications of handmade paper, washi, and papermaking history.


- Sumi Ink - stick and ink stone

- Brush - a brush that holds lots of water, ie calligraphy brushes or watercolour brushes, at least 3/4" wide

- Paper - Washi (Japanese paper). Kozuke is good starter paper, or try a variety of fibres (i.e., gampi, kozo, mitsumata) to test out the differences.

- Fish! Fish can be any kind of whole fish. More texture will be more interesting. *This is non-toxic; afterward the fish can be washed and eaten*

- Paring knife, Water Exacto or box cutting knife

- Ruler

- Paper-cutting surface (cutting mat)

- Paper towel

- A surface that can get messy underneath the fish (i.e., cardboard)

Alexa Hatanaka is a visual artist working primarily in relief printmaking, textile and paper. She engages in time-intensive, historic processes that support her thinking around community-building, environment, and persisting and honouring evolving cultural practices, such as papermaking and kamiko, the Japanese practice of sewing garments out of konnyaku starch-strengthened washi (paper). Hatanaka draws upon her Japanese-Canadian heritage in the scope and spirit of craft heirlooms, solidarity, individual and communal grit, cultural hybridity, and social justice. She creates public artwork, installations and performance work with community, collaboratively, and engaging youth which includes her work as founding member of Kinngait, Nunavut-based collective Kinngarni Katujjiqatigiit (2019-ongoing) and Embassy of Imagination (2014-2020). Hatanaka has exhibited at the Guanlan International Printmaking Base (Shenzen, China), The Art Gallery of Ontario, Canada House (London, UK), the Toronto Biennial of Art, the British Museum (London, UK) and NADA House Art Fair (New York). She is represented by Patel Brown Gallery in Toronto.

Flora Shum is a Hong Kong born-Toronto based artist, educator, and cultural worker. She has a BFA in Printmaking from OCAD University. She is the Co-Director of Paperhouse Studio and Paperhouse Outreach Collective, where she carries forward the vision for paper as the medium, and leads community arts-based programming for underserved youth. She is also a collective member of Kinngarni Katujjiqatigiit and AURA collective. Her artistic practice is experimental and collaborative by nature, with roots in papermaking, printmaking, and bookbinding, extending to found objects, sculpture, and installation. Her art utilizes these mediums to communicate and explore culture and heritage, alternative histories, personal/collective narratives, multiples, mass-production, cyborgs, and the nuances of racial microaggressions. Flora has exhibited internationally and locally—George Gilmore Gallery, Open Studio, Manhattan Graphics Center, Hong Kong Visual Arts Centre, “Art of the Book 2018-2021'' National touring show, “Atigiit, Silapaat” as Kinngarni Katujjiqatigiit at Attagoyuk Ilisavik, Kenojuak Cultural Centre, the British Museum (London, UK.), and Run Gallery as AURA Collective


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