April 1, 2018

Above: Ho Tam, "Barbershops," 2014.
Curator: Shaun Dacey

In 2013, Ho Tam initiated a series of self-published artist books, entitled HOTAM, that explores the intersection of the personal and political. Using the magazine format, HOTAM was published until 2017 as a quarterly artist’s journal to explore a wide frame of thematics from queer Asian identity to Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

Barbershops is a selection of four photographs from HOTAM #7 (2014). This issue presents a socio-visual investigation of barbershops in Manhattan’s Chinatown. Inside this city within a city, there are over 100 hair salons serving Chinese residents and visitors. Installed at Lansdowne Station on No. 3 Road in Richmond, the work connects to the area’s thriving Chinese diaspora community and the rapidly evolving commercial architecture of the site. Vibrant hubs of social and economic exchange in Chinatown, the barbershops Tam presents are key sites for community building, exchange, and identity construction.

Tam’s Canada Line installations are extensions of Cover to Cover, a solo exhibition of the artist’s work at the Richmond Art Gallery through to May 27.

Presented in partnership with
Canada Line Public Art Program—InTransit BC

Lansdowne Station is curated by
Richmond Art Gallery in partnership with Richmond Public Art Program

Ho Tam was born in Hong Kong, educated in Canada and the US, and worked at advertising companies and in community psychiatric facilities before turning to art. He practices in multiple disciplines including photography, video, painting, and print media. His first video, The Yellow Pages, was commissioned by the public art group PUBLIC ACCESS for an installation/projection at the Union Station of Toronto in 1994–95. Since then, Tam has produced over fifteen experimental videos. He was included in the travelling exhibition Magnetic North: Canadian Experimental Video by Walker Art Center, Minnesota. His feature documentary film Books of James was awarded Outstanding Artistic Achievement (Outfest, LA) and Best Feature Documentary (Tel Aviv LGBT Film Festival). He also publishes several series of artist’s books and zines. Tam is an alumni of the Whitney Museum Independent Studies Program, Bard College (MFA) and the recipient of various fellowships and artist grants.
Upcoming, Ho Tam will present A Brief History of Me at Paul Petro Contemporary Art in Toronto for the Contact Photography Festival.

Above: Ho Tam, "Barbershops," 2014.


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