a small but comfy house and maybe a dog
Curated by Su-Ying Lee
The title of this exhibition comes from a text, “Me in the Future,” that Amy Ching-Yan Lam wrote at age eleven and put in a time capsule, speculating by the age of twenty-five she’d be married, have a career, and “a small but comfy house and maybe a dog.” Starting from these childhood fantasies of domestic love and financial stability, Lam presents artworks that explore how these dreams function within the wider context of colonial history. With humour and acuity, she examines the relationships between property, family, institutional power and collections, and theft.
A central part of the exhibition is a series of models created by Lam in collaboration with artist HaeAhn Woo Kwon, where they remake toys, domestic materials, and found objects into a fantasy communal home. The imagined dog is represented by the real story of Looty, a Pekingese dog taken from China by British troops at the end of the Second Opium War, told through a book and animation.
Expanding on how collections are formed and accessed, Lam has worked with the Richmond Public Library to bring a selection of items from their Dr. Kwok-Chu Lee Collection into the gallery. In turn, the Richmond Art Gallery participates in a lending program of artworks from their collection, accessible through the Public Library, over the duration of Lam’s exhibition.
The exhibition will be accompanied by an artist book, co-published with UK-based publisher Book Works, in 2024.
Amy Ching-Yan Lam is an artist and writer. She makes exhibitions, performances, and public artworks. She was part of the duo Life of a Craphead from 2006 to 2020. Lam has presented work at Eastside Projects, Seoul MediaCity Biennale, the Western Front, Centre Clark, and numerous other venues, and has participated in residencies at Macdowell and Delfina Foundation. Her first full-length collection of poetry, Baby Book, is forthcoming from Brick Books in April 2023. She was born in Hong Kong and lives in Toronto, which is Mississauga Anishinaabeg treaty territory.
HaeAhn Woo Kwon is an installation artist. Informed by vernacular architecture in the urban environment of South Korea, her practice recombines and transforms disparate objects and means of production, reflecting on the availability of excess goods and the necessity of inventiveness in our current moment. She often collaborates with Paul Kajander as Haeahn Paul Kwon Kajander. She is an Assistant Professor in NSCAD University and represented by Franz Kaka Gallery in Tkaronto. She lives in Kjipuktuk, known as Halifax.
Su-Ying Lee is an independent curator living in Toronto/Tkaronto/Taranton/Gichi Kiiwenging, Canada. She has also worked in institutions as Assistant Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (MOCCA), Curator in Residence at the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, and Assistant Curator at the Art Gallery of Mississauga. She received a Masters Degree in Curatorial Studies at the University of Toronto and is an alumnus of the Toronto Arts Council/Banff Centre’s Cultural Leaders’ Lab. Her projects have taken place across Canada, in Hong Kong, Mexico City and Quezon City (Metro Manila), Philippines where she co-curated the third Kamias Triennial (2020).