The New Gallery (TNG) in Calgary Chinatown has a new Billboard 208 installation – Braids in the Front / Braids in the Back by Annie Wong.
“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.
BILLBOARD 208 / Braids in the Front / Braids in the Back
Artist / Annie Wong
Exhibition Dates / September 3 — November 30, 2021
About The New Gallery
The New Gallery (TNG) is an artist-run centre located in Mohkinstsis, also known as Calgary, on the ancestral and traditional territories of the people of the Treaty 7 region in Southern Alberta. This charitable centre for contemporary art was established in 1975 as the Clouds & Water Gallery and Visual Production Society.
Currently, TNG operates:
- Main Space — an exhibition venue in a storefront of the historic Canton Block in Calgary Chinatown
- Billboard 208 — a programming site situated on the exterior of TNG’s storefront
- Resource Centre — a combined library/archive and flexible meeting space
- Main Frame — an online platform for web-based projects
These venues support the research, creation, and exhibition of socially relevant and politically informed creative practices from artists at all junctures of their careers, while enabling a public engagement with artist-run culture and contemporary art. TNG’s programming comprises a broad range of art and educational activities, including exhibitions, publications, residencies, offsite projects, and community collaborations that serve to invigorate audiences’ experience of contemporary art and culture.