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Welcome our new AiR, Emily Jan!

Emily Jan, The Living Museum

May 6 – June 18, 2022

“I will be continuing my exploration into the ink and dye potential of the plants, lichens, and minerals that can be sustainably and responsibly harvested in Newfoundland, and using them to create wall-scale drawings of the field specimens and found objects I collect on my travels.

I will also be partnering with the curators at The Rooms to work with two classes of object which they have in their care: first, the utilitarian objects that have, throughout human history on the island, been created entirely out of materials sourced here and in the seas around; and second, the relics of disaster, i.e. the beautiful object which records a terrible event, things which have been shaped by both human hands and by uncontrollable forces.

Newfoundland has long been known to outsiders as a place where Place matters. What does it mean to belong to a place? The question has been asked many times and in various ways, but the angle I am interested in, given the current state of the world, is the tension between permanence and instability – what does “belonging” mean when the place to which one belongs is precarious, or subject to radical and violent change?”


Emily Jan (b. 1977, Los Angeles) is a Canadian-American artist and writer currently based in Edmonton, AB. Her biophilic sculptures and installations combine the found with the fabricated to evoke the faraway and the fantastical. As a wanderer, naturalist, and collector of objects and stories, she is guided in her work by the spirit of exploration, kinship, and curiosity.

Recent exhibitions include Wild at the Textile Museum of Canada, Toronto (2019), The World is Bound by Secret Knots at Art Mûr, Montreal (2020) and Eastern Edge, St. John’s (2019), and Castaways: A Climate Action Project at the Robert Bateman Centre Gallery of Nature, Victoria, BC (2020). Upcoming exhibitions include the Biennale nationale de sculpture contemporaraine at l’Galerie d’art du parc, QC, and Encre Sauvage / Wild Ink at Vaste et Vague, QC (2022). Past residencies include Union House Arts, NL (2019), Artscape Gibraltar Point (2018), the Elsewhere Museum (2017), and Denali National Park (2016).

Jan has written and illustrated three books: still life (2014), A Denali Book of Hours (2017) and Glory of the Seas: A Shell Collector’s Journey (2019, with Stephen H. Kawai).