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Richmond artist’s work explores Chinese-Canadian cultural conflict

Charis Au has turned the cultural conflict she experienced growing up in Richmond into a work of art.  -
Charis Au has turned the cultural conflict she experienced growing up in Richmond into a work of art.
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Kwantlen Polytechnic University student Charis Au has turned the cultural conflict she experienced growing up in Richmond into a work of art.

Au, who graduated from the old Steveston Secondary, is contributing three pieces of art to Kwantlen’s 2014 fine arts grad exhibit, titled Ninety-Seven Days to represent the length of a university semester. The exhibit takes place April 11 to 13 at KPU’s campus in Cloverdale.

“My work explores the culture that I grew up in. Being a Chinese-Canadian, I grew up with two very distinctive cultures,” says Au. “The conflicts that I experience due to that is showcased in my work.”

Au says her pieces were inspired by the struggles she encountered as a Chinese Canadian over the years and how they influence her life today.

“I try to resolve the unease I feel through my artwork.”

Ninety-Seven Days will feature a variety of artwork from self-portraits and digital filmmaking to technology-integrated practices. Au is one of 13 artists in the exhibition, which will examine the themes of ambiguity, isolation, meditative journeys, fading memories, mutations and lost stories.

A recurring theme throughout Ninety-Seven Days is the essence of time—how it is valued, manipulated and exploited.

The 13 artists were called upon to create, manipulate and explore themselves and the world around them, and ultimately, tell stories through works of art. These artistic creations will call attention to pop-culture, technology, self-exploration, survival and liberation.

“I hope my art would inspire others that had the same type of struggles as me in a cultural sense,” Au says. “I think there is still a lot to talk about in how different cultures work together but also clash sometimes.”

“Although I realize that not everyone has the same exact cultures I grew up with, I hope they would identify the feelings of being different with me.”

Ninety-Seven Days takes place April 11 to 13 at the Kwantlen Polytechnic University Cloverdale campus, 5500 180th St., Cloverdale. For more information, visit www.kpu.ca/arts/fine-arts.

 

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