alaska B (born in Edmonton, Canada; lives in Toronto, Canada) is interested in visual cultures from Asia and their reinterpretation, examining at the same time her own identity as a second-generation Chinese Canadian. Inflected with a queer sensibility and a real desire to break away from systems of categorization, her practice blurs boundaries among disciplines, races, genders, and sexualities. Her work extends to various creative spheres, including multimedia installation, electronic arts, performance, illustration and music, as she co-founded the experimental music collective Yamantaka // Sonic Titan.
- Edmonton, Canada
- Countries / Nations
- Toronto, Canada
In the project One Only Throws a Stick At a Lion Once // 一個人只能對獅子丟擲一次棍子, alaska B revisits an important symbol of the Chinese diaspora: the guardian lion (石獅), a constant and protective presence in Chinese neighbourhoods. A stone lion head appears roaring, a wild glint in its eyes, its gaping mouth revealing razor-sharp teeth. The work is inspired by a proverb by Tibetan Buddhist Milarepa: “When you run after your thoughts, you are like a dog chasing a stick: every time a stick is thrown, you run after it. Instead, be like the lion who, rather than chasing after the stick, turns to face the thrower. One only throws a stick at a lion once.” More than a warning, the project denounces the manifestations of hate and violence in Canada against Asian—and particularly Chinese—communities since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. This wave of Sinophobia has resulted, among other things, in numerous acts of vandalism, a number of lion sculptures have been disfigured or destroyed in the Montreal region. In One Only Throws a Stick At a Lion Once // 一個人只能對獅子丟擲一次棍子, these symbolic animals come to life and embody resistance and rebelliousness. By reanimating these ransacked guardian lions in digital form, alaska B pays tribute to North American Chinese communities, emphasizing their indestructible nature and resilience through the roaring of the stone lion.