Winnipeg Arts Council

Jiak ba buay? / Have you eaten?

Loading map...

EXHIBITION| 21 April – 27 May, 2023


WORKSHOP| 22 April 12PM – 4PM

The memories Angeline Simon holds of her grandparents, aunts, and uncles revolve around

being greeted with the question, “jiak ba buay?” (have you eaten?). This is a common Hokkien

greeting used as a way to express care for loved ones, similar to asking, “how are you?”

Hokkien is a Chinese dialect widely spoken amongst Chinese diaspora in parts of Southeast

Asia, and is the dialect Simon’s maternal family speaks.

The act of sharing food maintains and strengthens relationships. Food crosses lingual and

cultural barriers, showing care for those closest to us by ensuring they always have enough on

their plate. In Chinese culture, having family dinners together is believed to bring harmony,

peace, and closeness. This exhibition presents ceramic sculptures of foods such as bak cang,

kolo mee and various fruits that Simon ate at her Ah Ma’s (grandma’s) kitchen table in Kuching, Malaysia. By maintaining familiarity to Hokkien and Chinese-Malaysian food culture, Simon resists the fade of intergenerational memory.

Gleaning through old storage boxes in her parent’s basement and collecting images from

aunts and uncles during visits, Simon has been slowly archiving her family photographs.

Throughout Simon’s search to better understand her biracial identity, these photographs

have led her to spend time refamiliarizing herself with relatives that have passed and

developing a greater understanding of her parent’s experiences immigrating to Canada.

Mining these photographic archives as source material for her collages, the resulting works

span multiple time periods and geographies.

By digitally manipulating, cutting, and combining these images, timelines, places and

generations merge together, commenting on the disjointed nature of families in diaspora. As

a second generation Canadian, Simon utilizes photographs and food to find lineal and

cross-cultural connections that resonate with anyone who has looked into their ancestral

past for answers.


Angeline Simon is a multidisciplinary artist based in Lethbridge, AB/Treaty 7 Territory. She

graduated from the University of Lethbridge in 2018 with a BFA in Art Studio. As a second

generation biracial Canadian, Simon explores familial narratives and the dynamics within

contrasting cultures. The physical distance from family members and a lack of participation in

both German and Chinese-Malaysian cultural traditions motivated Simon to investigate her

ancestral past. Her work has been exhibited at galleries and institutions including the University

of Lethbridge Helen Christou Gallery, Harcourt House Artist Run Centre, Contemporary Calgary,

Southern Alberta Art Gallery, and Art Gallery Evergreen (outdoor installation as part of Capture

Photography Festival 2022).