Asian Fusion By Adam Volk - Ottawa 2010

Asian Fusion
Adam Volk

East meets West as cultures coalesce at Asian-Canadian art exhibit Made in Canada

When it comes to Canada's cultural landscape, it seems that the artists that often define our national identity are those which bring a unique multicultural perspective to their work. Case in point: Made in Canada, a new exhibit on display now at the Shenkman Arts Centre, which showcases the works of 11 prolific Asian-Canadian artists.

The exhibit is a joint collaboration between the Ottawa School of Art and the Canadian Council Art Bank, yet it was originally conceived by an unlikely champion of Asian-Canadian art: Guillermo Trejo, a Mexican-born artist and curator. "Asian-Canadians are the biggest ethnic group in the country, so there was a lot to draw on," says Trejo. "All of the works are from contemporary artists working and living in Canada, but whose works are also related to their Asian heritage."

Indeed, the dozens of pieces on display are a potent blend of Eastern and Western themes, many of which also mix old world sensibilities and contemporary style. Montreal-based artist Karen Tam, for example, cleverly explores the nature of systemic racism in Ching-Chong Chinaman, Sitting on a Wall..., a work that features Asian-inspired cut outs while also using the old ethnic slur to highlight her traditional motif.

Asian symbolism also plays a recurring role in the exhibit. Hong Kong-born and Ottawa-based painter Howie Tsui, for instance, mixes graffiti, pop culture
and traditional Chinese imagery in Bipolar, a sprawling, eye-catching painting that combines seemingly opposing imagery in one seamless and complex image.

In the end, Made in Canada is more than just an art exhibit, it's an event that celebrates the contributions of Canada's Asian community, proving that our art is as diverse and innovative as the cultures that define our country.

Made in Canada
@ Shenkman Arts Centre (245 Centrum Blvd. Orleans)
Until April 25


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