Kemp was part of 2023 RBC Emerging Visual Artists Program

Wanru Kemp will develop a series of artworks during her residency that will reflect the area’s unique landscapes.

Okotoks has a new artist in residence. 

The Okotoks Arts Council, the Town of Okotoks and the Okotoks Public Library announced on May 28 that Wanru Kemp is the 2024 Sheep River Artist in Residence. 

“I am truly honoured to be the newest Sheep River Artist in Residence. As a local artist, this opportunity is not only a personal achievement, but an invaluable chance for me to engage deeply with our community,” said Kemp. “I look forward to sharing my artistic reflections on the landscape and cultural vibrancy of this region with all of you.” 

During her residency, Kemp will develop a series of artworks that reflect the unique landscapes, capturing the expressive nature of the area and fostering an appreciation for the natural world and its soothing presence. 

Born on China’s north coast, Kemp has a degree in photography but began her training in painting early on under her father’s guidance. Kemp has exhibited in galleries in Calgary, United States, Vancouver and at the Okotoks Art Gallery. 

She was part of the 2023 RBC Emerging Visual Artists Program and has her works in private collections in numerous countries across the globe, including the United States, United Kingdom, Russia, Finland, Germany and others. 

“Wanru’s proposal piqued the interest of the selection committee,” said Neil Bantleman, vice president of the Okotoks Arts Council. “Her work beautifully intertwines cultural heritage with ecological awareness, creating a narrative that not only honours the past but also aims to inspire a sustainable future.” 

The Sheep River Artist in Residence program, developed to encourage established or emerging artists, is being hosted by the Okotoks Arts Council and will be produced in partnership with the Okotoks Public Library and the Town of Okotoks. 

Tanya Zakarow served as the inaugural artist in residence last year, painting portraits of several prominent Okotokians. 

To learn more about the program, visit 

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