2020 Grad Show

Hoi Yan Chan



My art sometimes is the starting point of a journey or a question, without a fixed destination or answer. My surroundings are imprinted, trivial discoveries lie on the surface of my works and reveal meanings. However, meanings change over time with deferral and different interpretations.
My art sometimes is a search for the balance between compromise, control and let go spontaneity. It echoes to the nature of my favourite material -ceramic. I am inspired by the interaction between the material and the making process. My art and I both grow in between the gaps of mistakes and misunderstandings.



Martial artist Bruce Lee refers Chinese Kung-fu with “water”. Due to water is the softest substance in the world but it can penetrate the hardiest rock. The insubstantial, formless and shapeless of water makes it flexible. I associate this fluidity to the movement of people around me. As we, have different opinions; we, have different lifestyles; we, have different missions; and we, coexist at some point (in particular time and place). Believe or suspect, conflict or agreement, what is freedom? They come, they go; because I come, I go. Perhaps “coming and going” is a way to practice “Be Water”.


After moving home twice within three months that caused by problem neighbours, I enjoy the simple pleasure to watch my new neighbours from a distance during my breakfast: squirrels running on the power lines, jack rabbit perch in the snow and the magpies hopping between shrubs. The video suggests a tranquility and peaceful atmosphere between human and nature, as these animals can be found easily in Alberta's residential areas, it narrates my current environment better than any spoken languages. It transforms my observation and everyday life into my art. It also generates contrasts to the suffocation atmosphere from the COVID-19 pandemic while it exhibits together with other components of COME + GO.


In terms of synecdoche, the symbolic meaning of mask is controversial. This ceramic surgical mask acts as a shield, however, this protection is fragile. Perhaps the properties of breakable and unbreathable of this mask speak for us. The function and the importance of mask wearing change, due to the ongoing protests in my hometown Hong Kong and the COVID-19 pandemic. As the HK government enacted an anti-mask law in October 2019, eventually the High Court ruled that wearing masks at unlawful assemblies is illegal in April 2020. Arguments between the necessity of wearing surgical mask increase internationally because of the insufficient of supply, even the guideline from the World Health Organization become questionable and political.


It is a further development of my previous work “ROLLS” made in spring 2019, which is a series of burnt-out porcelain toilet rolls. Through transforming the disposable objects into ceramics, I question that I possessed too much commodities and I seem constantly produce garbage, include my daily consumption of FMCG and my failure art pieces...
Coincidentally, the toilet paper rolls were sold out in grocery stores because of the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. The internet circulating that some people piling up toilet rolls and foods, some people fighting for purchase cleaning supplies. This panic purchasing is a very rare social phenomenal in recent world, it reflects that collecting things make human feel secure.


Hard hat is a symbol of safety. However, people in my hometown Hong Kong were wearing hard hats to protect themselves during the protests for cancellation the Extradition Bill. As if it passed, China government can expedite criminal to the mainland and override HK's independent legal system. Since 2019 June 16, over 2 million civilians marched on street peacefully and rationally. But the police responded with excessive force – they fired thousands of rubber bullet, pepper spray and tear gas. MTR (public train system) and China-invested shops were vandalized by furious demonstrators, Universities became battle fields. The whole city was in chaos over 6 months due to the violent clashes between police and demonstrators, SAFE is a big issue.


People come and go,
things come and go,
everyday comes and goes.
Perhaps the present is the most important.

This installation piece contains a video with sound,that projects on top of 3 ceramic objects. The juxtaposition of these elements reflect my recent surroundings. My neighbourhood in 2020 Calgary is narrated in the video with the habitation of magpies, squirrels and jack rabbits. The background audio depicts a coffee making scene, while I was reading news and watch my neighbours from a distance. The ceramic hard hat represents the chaos happened in my hometown Hong Kong since 2019; the ceramic toilet paper roll represents the COVID-19 pandemic; the ceramic surgical mask keeps in a zip-lock bag associates to both situations.