Brenda Joy Lem’s exhibition addresses themes of memory, oral history, spirituality, and “the enduring heart,” as the artist explores her family history and the threads that connect generations. Lem recounts fragments from the history of her family’s immigration from China and the hand-laundry business they operated in the 1930s, layered over family and archival images. As with all early Chinese immigrants, Lem’s grandparents came through the Victoria/Vancouver port when they arrived in Canada over 100 years ago, and that history will create a basic context for the installation at Richmond.
About the Artist:
Third-generation Chinese-Canadian artist Brenda Joy Lem lives in Toronto, where she cooks, writes, plays taiko, improvises on voice and piano, makes collages, films, silkscreen prints and care-gives her elderly parents and family. Lem began exhibiting her visual art in the 1980s. Her solo shows include Museum London, The Robert McLaughlin Gallery, The Moose Jaw Museum and Art Gallery, The Varley Gallery, Museum of Chinese in the Americas (New York City) and the Mississauga Art Gallery. Her films have played in major festivals across North America and are in the collections of the National Library of Canada, the Walter Phillips Gallery (Banff), the University of Hawaii, the University of Michigan and the San Francisco Art Institute, among others.