Sarah Mihara Creagen’s large-scale drawings have described her and her younger sister’s shared experiences of navigating Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. Currently exploring histories of sex, illness and healing practices found within the field of botany, Creagen uses humour as a form of resistance and Queer resiliency to create work that speaks to her experience with Crohn’s Disease and chronic illness.
One particular plant that appears often within Creagen’s work is the resurrection (poikilohydric) plant which can withstand drought for months by drifting into a dormant state. She uses this quality of shifting in and out of lifelessness to speak to themes of self-care, isolation, and renewal. Creagen has studied hands-on gardening practices, including plant grafting, which appears within her imagery of territorial pissing; using that liquid to keep the spliced-together plant moist (a grafting requirement).
During a May 2021 Remote Research Residency supported by Access Gallery and Arts Assembly, Creagen was given support to start researching a body of work exploring early medicinal histories of both plants and leeches. Leeches, used in a variety of medical treatments for “deviant” sexual behaviour, intestinal inflammation (a major symptom of Crohn’s Disease), and heartbreak, have been a source of recent inspiration for Creagen within her work.
Sarah Mihara Creagen is a white passing mixed-race Japanese Canadian Queer artist. She received her MFA from Hunter College (NYC) in 2018, and was a 2018/2019 Queer|Art Mentorship Fellow paired with Neil Goldberg. She has had solo exhibitions in Toronto, Montreal, and New York. Some recent publications her work has been written about and featured in are: The NY Times “What to See in New York Art Galleries Right Now”, Hyperallergic, and Visual Arts News (Summer 2020). Creagen has an upcoming solo show with the Khyber Centre for the Arts (Jan 2022) and is a 2020/2021 grant recipient of a Visual Artist Creation Project from the Ontario Art Council. In May 2021, she was one of six artists selected for Arts Assembly and Access Gallery’s inaugural Remote Research Residency, and has participated as an invited artist in a Cottage Studio Residency at the Glenhyrst Art Gallery of Brant in 2020/2021.