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B.C. artist Ho Tam has installation at Godfrey Dean Gallery

Each of the works may have taken a few months to a few years to create.
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Vancouver-based artist Ho Tam.

YORKTON - Until Oct. 22 the Godfrey Dean Gallery in Yorkton is featuring Vancouver-based artist Ho Tam and his photography, design, and book making art practice.

“It is a special opportunity for our gallery to host an exhibition and a visiting artist from outside of the province,” noted a gallery release.

“Ho Tam’s exhibition is a major installation—hundreds of images, photographs, prints, design elements, and texts explore topics of identity, history, culture, and social justice.”

“The exhibition at Yorkton consists of about ten sets of work, from photography to print works. Almost all of them are related to my publications from the past ten years,” Ho Tam told Yorkton This Week. “. . .  The exhibition ends up not being so much an installation in that sense - it is composed of many sets of work that I have made in the last ten years. I guess my idea for this exhibition is to revisit many different stages and aspects of my life. Mainly they seem to relate to my bookwork overall. 

“The works were created in the last ten years.  

“Each of the works may have taken a few months to a few years to create.  

“Some of the pieces are still evolving and developing ongoing. Sometimes I also remake or revise the work and it becomes a new piece. Some works also transcribe from one form to another. For example, a painting becomes a book and a book becomes a set of photographs.” 

Ho Tam, who born in Hong Kong when it was a British colony, but moved to Toronto with his family in his teen years said for inspiration he simply lives life. 

“From the experience and the observation of everyday life, and from just being here in the world,” he said.” . . . Art to me is a form of self expression. I enjoy the process of creating -- which a big part is consisted of developing concepts and solving problems. The work is based on my own experience and observation. I feel that the work should be able to speak for me.”

Ho Tam’s interest in art is a long-held one.

“Since I was a kid, but I did not get to explore or think about art seriously until I was in university,” he said. “I was doing a field placement in a community facility and had the opportunity of watching over an art therapy class.

“In the beginning I was mostly self taught -- besides classes in elementary school. I took a part time course in commercial art and got a job in advertising. But I did not find it exactly satisfying and I began painting and drawing on my own. Later, after I was making and showing my art for a number of years, I went back to grad school for a master's degree.” 

As for a preferred medium, Ho Tam takes a varied approach to creating works.

“I have worked with many mediums before, from drawing and painting to video and photography,” he said. “The last 10 or so years, I have been mostly focusing on books and publications.  

“I can't say that I have a preference. To me, books and publications have the potential to travel, and are complete on their own, like portable exhibitions.”