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We First Need A Boat For The Rising Tide To Lift Us
2019, 16 minutes 33 seconds, UHD, documentation of a performance for the Richmond Art Gallery, Live Performance Biennale, and Richmond Maritime Festival. Collection of the National Gallery of Canada.

Standing in the Fraser River Delta, waist-deep in water and equipped with rudimentary materials, basic hand tools, and negligible skills, the artist attempted to build a functioning boat that would allow him to paddle to shore. As boatbuilding in the water presents far more challenges than boatbuilding on dry land, there was always a strong possibility the performance would end in failure.

Channeling an absurd romantic hero who finds himself nearly engulfed by nature, Sasaki relied on his ability to problem-solve as complications arose, and improvise solutions in the moment. Attempted in Steveston BC, Sasaki considered his Japanese-Canadian family's history of boating and fishing in the region before their internment in 1942 and subsequent move inland. The performance brought into focus all the maritime knowledge that didn't get passed down to the artist.

Documentation and ephemera from the performance was presented at the Richmond Art Gallery as part of the exhibition. (September 29 - November 17, 2019, curated by Shaun Dacey.)
This project built on a previous three-hour long durational performance from 2017, marking Canada's 150th birthday, made in conjunction with a concurrent exhibition at the Varley Art Gallery, Markham ON, curated by Anik Glaude.

On view at the National Gallery of Canada through 2024, curated by Stephanie Burdzy.

A review for Canadian Art by Henry Heng Lu can be found HERE.

NGC installation.jpg

Above, installation view National Gallery of Canada. Below, installation view Richmond Art Gallery.

Grateful acknowledgements to the Sasaki and Hoita families, the Richmond Art Gallery team: Shaun Dacey, videographers Melanie Devoy and Elisha Wang, Nan Capogna, Paula Hickey Kathy Tycholis, Paula Booker, Matthew Brown, Randy Gledhill, Annie Koyama, Mike Murakami, Osamu Miyabe, Stephanie Burdzy, Ken Campbell, The National Gallery of Canada, The Canada Council for the Arts, The Ontario Arts Council, The City of Vancouver Archives, the City of Richmond Archives, the Vancouver Maritime Museum, The Britannia Shipyards National Historic Site, UBC rare books and Special Collections, and the many people who gave their time and knowledge: William Baker, Sophie Brodovitch, Douglas Brooks, Marianne and Bill Cruttwell, Audrey Doyon, Lea Edgar, Dan Farrell, Anik Glaude, Makiko Hara, Denise Harris, Noreen Hayashi, Tomoyo Ihaya, Ruth Jones, Sherri Kajiwara, Bryce Kanbara, Martin Kobayakawa, Kevin Takahide Lee, John MacFarlane, Cindy Mochizuki, Emiko Morita, Nichola Ogiwara, Linda Ohama, Linda Kawamoto Reid, Laura Saimoto, Sharon Sasaki, Shan Siddiqui, Theressa Takasaki, Bryan Tasaka, Tyler de Witt, Akira Yoshikawa, Jennifer Yuhasz.

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