Kimberly Ho – An artist embracing a world of possibilities

Kimberly is staring wistfully into the mirror, placed among the leaves in Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. | Photo by Alger Liang.

A constant questioning, a desire to explore what’s beyond the status quo, to push the boundaries and share their vision with the rest of the world. That is the work of artists, and nobody embodies that questioning and boundary-pushing better than Kimberly Ho, one of eight young artists participating in the inaugural Emerging Creators Incubator, an initiative of the Evergreen Cultural Centre (ECC).

Ho’s work as part of the incubator, alongside the work from their fellow artists, will be presented during the upcoming exhibition (Re)Visions, which will run from Aug. 5 to 15 at the Evergreen Cultural Centre’s art gallery in Coquitlam.

Reimagining the post-pandemic world

While the pandemic has caused unprecedented disruption, stress and upheaval at a global scale, the fight against COVID-19 has also brought a reckoning at many levels: the nature of work, human relationships, the global economy, the ongoing impact of climate change, systemic racism and other structural injustices. The vision of the Emerging Creators Incubator was to bring the young artists together to ‘learn, make and (re)imagine a way forward.’

For Ho, a multidisciplinary artist, this mandate gave her the freedom to try something completely different and new in their work. While film (both acting and directing), photography and theatre, are the main media Ho uses in their art, this time they chose to work on an installation piece that tries to articulate the tensions Ho feels within their identity.

“A lot of tension comes as someone who is a settler to these stolen lands and someone who is also a person of colour and needing to and wanting to unravel what that means to be within that identity,” Ho explains.

The best way to manifest that tension, Ho says, was to work with materials and to explore “the relationship between textiles and new media” as they were interested in the conversation between the futurism of new media and the more “grounded home practice” of textiles.

They admit that while they have worked with mixed media in the past, this is the first time that it will be a public-facing piece, which makes them a bit nervous. Nonetheless, participating in the Emerging Creators Incubator is a natural step for Ho, who sees her artistic path as a “lifelong journey.”

Honouring her roots

For Ho, the process of creation is deeply tied to their Hakka roots. Hakka, which translates into ‘guest people,’ designates a Chinese ethnic group that originated in North Central China. Hakka people now live all across Southern China, Taiwan and Southwest Asia, but also around the world – the Hakka people are believed to be the most diasporic among the Chinese community groups.

In their work, Ho honours their Hakka culture by being “authentic with myself,” which translates into a profoundly caring and collaborative approach to the process of creation.

“I think that sounds very broad of a statement, but I do think it’s connected to the Hakka people. In my experience for the few times I’ve been back to visit my extended family, they have always been really gracious and kind and warm in their love,” she says. “And it’s sort of the way I would like to approach a rehearsal room or studio or whatever space it is that I’m interacting with.”

All the multidisciplinary artists participating in the cultural centre’s initiative have received mentoring from David Mann and Kate Henderson, the general arts manager and the visual arts manager at the Evergreen Cultural Centre. They have also received mentoring from guests artists and other cultural workers. On display at the upcoming (Re)Visions: a collection of exciting new works which will bring a sense of the future and the myriad possibilities that anyone can embrace if they are open to it.

For more information on (Re)Visions, visit www.evergreenculturalcentre.ca

To learn more about Kimberly Ho, visit www.kimberly-ho.com

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