Annie Wong – Braids in the Front, Braids in the Back, 2021.
Braids in the Front, Braids in the Back
September 3–November 30, 2021
This exhibition is on view at Billboard 208, a programming site situated on the exterior storefront of The New Gallery.
“Braids in the front, braids in the back” is an alias once used between the Chinese and Indigenous communities in their respective languages to refer to each other. The term came to use during the early periods of Chinese settlement on Treaty 7 territory when the two communities were in proximity along the Bow River. “Braids in the front” refers to the double braids worn by Indigenous people. “Braids in the back” refers to the single braid, or Qing queue, worn by the Chinese men. Modelled after Chinatown storefront signs, Braids in the Front / Braids in the Back recalls an obscured history of mutual aid and kinship between the two communities.
The Blackfoot translation is by Sheldon First Rider. The Chinese translation is by Christina Yao. Braids in the Front, Braids in the Back was curated by Su Ying Strang in conjunction with the Main Space project, Pulling Back the Paper.
Annie Wong is a multidisciplinary artist, writer, and community organizer based in Tkaronto, Treaty 13 Territory.
TNG gratefully acknowledges its home on the traditional territories of the people of the Treaty 7 region, including the Blackfoot Confederacy (Kainai, Piikani and Siksika), Métis Nation of Alberta Region III, Stoney Nakoda First Nation (Chiniki, Bearspaw, and Wesley), and Tsuu T’ina First Nation. TNG would also like to acknowledge the many other First Nations, Métis and Inuit who have crossed this land for generations.