I have lived much of my adult life transitioning from a young Japanese woman to a Canadian artist with children. Assigned roles, cultural expectations and determinants for women are vastly different in each country but the awakening of self-awareness is common to both. When it happens and how it first manifests in a child is the subject of this painting. The sheer weight of the silk robe sits heavily on the shoulders of a six-year-old, framing the weariness in her face. Are cultural memory and context mere backdrops against which we play out our lives or do they determine who we become? The incongruous flash of Manitoba tartan fabric at her collar, almost hidden beneath the joyous flight of white cranes across her chest, hints perhaps at a first flowering of self as a consequence of choice.
Kae Sasaki obtained her first degree in German literature in Tokyo before moving to Winnipeg to study painting. Upon graduation from School of Art, she received the Alice Hamilton Prize for excellence in painting, and has since established an active studio practice. She is represented by Gurevich Fine Art Gallery and her work has been shown at the Winnipeg Art Gallery and the Toronto International Art Fair among others. In her work Sasaki seeks an imaginative revitalisation of the narrative and atmospheric potential of painting. She negotiates the ability of painting to create visual worlds that are both familiar and extraordinary. Her process uses intuition as often as it does linear planning, and as the psychological component takes over, symbols and other elements are added to bring them forward so that the paintings open up in a multi-vocal way.