PA System (Alexa Hatanaka and Patrick Thompson) work in textile, printmaking, painting, video, and public art. They create collaborative and socially-engaged projects namely in the high arctic, including their ongoing project with Inuit youth in Kinngait (Cape Dorset, Nunavut) called Embassy of Imagination.
Their work has been exhibited in institutions worldwide, such as the Royal Ontario Museum, The Art Gallery of Ontario, Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona, University of New Mexico Art Gallery, Canada House in London and the Guanlan International Printmaking Base in China. In September 2019 they will be exhibiting their work in the inaugural Toronto Biennial of Art.
PA System has been involved in the Kinngait community for six years spending three months at a time activating their Embassy of Imagination workshops or projects with the youth. They lead out-of-community projects with smaller groups of the youth annually. Their work as PA System is currently informed by the significant time spent in Kinngait, as documents of moments, memories and the land, and reflects on how they may address issues or aspirations identified by the youth, with the youth.
They have partnered with the District Education Authority of Kinngait to launch PPStudio (printmaking program) and Land and Cultural Leadership Program. Equipment funding for the latter program is received from the sales of the collaborative Future Snowmachines in Kinngait ongoing project.The Snowmachines have been exhibited in the AGO and as a large scale installation at The Bentway.


Museum of Contemporary Art, artists in Residence, Toronto

Nature as Communities

Group show, Dalhousie Art Gallery, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Curated by Jennifer Yakamovich

May 3 - July 17

“Drawing from environmental justice theorist Giovanna di Chiro’s idea of nature as community, the exhibition points to artistic investigations into notions of nature, culture, and place from within Canada’s multiple geographies. In these works, Environment becomes environments: multiple and varied, and culturally, biotically, geographically, and epistemically situated. Knit together by the threads of a consciousness that recognizes the confluence of environment, sustainability, and social justice, Nature as Communities helps us to see the connections between climate and cultural change. Incorporating sound, video projections, and other means to re-populate emptied landscapes while exploring political ecologies of place, power, and responsibility, these works are an invitation to reflect on questions of accountability to both human and non-human generations of the future–as well as to those of the past and present.”

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Do you want to take the short-cut or the long-cut?

Solo, Open Studio Gallery

May 17 - June 15

“PA System’s Do you want to take the short-cut or the long-cut? is part of an ongoing collection of works about land: human use and relationship to land, places of shared experience and memory, complex and conflicting societal relationships to resource exploitation and industry, ideas of development, commons, nations, rights, and the experience of snow and ice as land. The thinking behind the work has been percolating and mind-mapped over the past ten years, as personal understandings of cold, land, and ways of life have grown from cherished time spent in Inuit Nunangat (Inuit homeland in the Canadian arctic) creating collaborative and community art projects, primarily their ongoing project with Kinngait youth, Embassy of Imagination.

PA System’s work employs visual metaphor, for instance, adapting forms of ancient documents. They have used personally collected materials both raw and man-made, originating from the places that the work references, including iron ore mined from north Baffin Island.

Several works depict ephemeral wind-blown snow-forms that are both beautiful and a tool for navigation in the North. The varied processes involved in these works naturally have a strong visual connection: the fine ridges of layered 3D-printing, the detailed and linear carving for hand-printed linocut work, and the natural process of wind chiseling the original snow-forms. Depicting these snow-forms has intimate and broad meaning. It is a personal and tedious process that supports reminiscing, missing a place, preserving the elapsed moment. The work also reflects on the precarity of the climate and by extension the threat to mobility as it is tied to the ice and weather.”

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Recent: PA System

General Hardware Contemporary, January/February, 2019

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