My practice consists of research into intersecting histories of the medical system and botany, and considers these topics through being mixed-race (white passing Japanese-Canadian) and personal experiences of queerness, chronic illness and disability while living with Crohn’s Disease. My work also explores my relationship to my younger sister who also lives with an Inflammatory Bowel Disease, and personal experiences within the medical system during the ongoing pandemic, including: surgery, becoming immunocompromised, and managing relationships to long term biologic medication infusion drugs and additional autoimmune diagnoses.

I have begun to appropriate IV bags, tubes, and other items associated with my infusion medication and surgery, as well as exploring bioremediation on a smaller scale. The re-contextualized medical objects are a way of bringing new narratives and transformations to experiences within the medical system, disability, and chronic illness.

A recent soil testing workshop developed for a public event with Carleton University Art Gallery explored how experiences of health and queerness may be represented through themes found in bioremediation (the process of using a living organism to detoxify contaminants in the soil and other environments). Through family stories of my Bachan (grandmother) being in Hiroshima through the atomic bomb, we also explored bioremediation processes and tactics for land remediation within nuclear disaster sites, and environmental and personal impacts from Hiroshima’s atomic bomb.

Currently, with my collaborator Zoe Hayes, we’ve created an active public bioremediation garden on unused city land in Hamilton, ON. Garden of Repairs will be active through 2024. I’m excited to continue exploring the connection between personal experiences of illness and the bioremediation growing process of healing and restoring contaminated land through plant and fungi growth, as well as create a space for artists-in-residences to explore personal connections to the bioremediation process and ideas of their own.

Sarah Mihara Creagen is a white passing mixed-race Japanese Canadian Queer artist born in Nova Scotia and currently living in Toronto. Sarah received her MFA in 2018 from Hunter College (NYC) and was a 2018 Queer|Art Mentorship Fellow. She has had solo exhibitions at Katharine Mulherin’s NO FOUNDATION gallery (Toronto), SPRING/BREAK Art Show and Hercules Studios Gallery in New York City, and multiple artist-run centres across Canada including Montreal, Halifax, and London, ON. She is currently working towards an upcoming solo show in Fall 2024 with Neutral Ground Artist Run Centre in Regina, SK.

Her work has been featured in The NY Times “What to See in New York Art Galleries Right Now”, Hyperallergic, and Visual Arts News. Sarah’s work has been supported through multiple visual artist grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Art Council, and the Toronto Arts Council.

With her collaborator Zoe Hayes, Sarah is currently running Garden of Repairs, a public bioremediation garden and public art project in Hamilton, Ontario.