435 King Street East, Cambridge, ON
"A wonderful memory: after a tasty meal from the local Chinese restaurant, the servers always brought me a cookie to complete the meal. This sweet delight was such a treat not only because it tasted great, but there was that wee slip of paper—my fortune." –Patrick Li
For three years, Patrick Li collected cookie fortunes left behind by diners at Chinese restaurants in communities across the country. Here, Li gives those found fortunes new life by returning them to their original purpose, and invites us to pause and revisit these words, some of which may be familiar from our own experiences of excitedly breaking open a cookie to reveal our fortune and lucky numbers.
Alongside these works, the exhibition presents two new installations that focus on the cookie and its origins. Like the reclaimed fortunes, the words and phrases the artist hand-printed on each cookie are hopeful, humorous, and sometimes surprising, and may seem particularly resonant in the present moment.
Li’s careful, labour-intensive processes draw our attention to small, quickly-forgotten or consumed objects, reminding us of the importance of individual actions and the power of the collective.
Taking inspiration from daily life, Li's mission is to transform the everyday mundane into exceptionally unique pieces by using his hands. His work ranges from turning discarded fortune cookie papers into a wall of happy thoughts to transforming ordinary eggs into an extraordinary light show. In 2019, Li completed his first public art sculpture for the City of Peterborough in Ontario, Canada. Called 'Your Story,' the sculpture is installed on the City's Library Commons and is designed to evoke a book cover twisting in the wind. Standing 20 feet tall, the wooden structure creates a sense of movement through a series of undulating fin-like columns which make the sculpture feel alive. For Li, it is important that each person who walks inside has a chance to experience this fluidity and discover their own journey.
Having lived in Hong Kong, Belfast, Coventry, New York, and Toronto, Li now specializes in Architecture, Art, and Design.
Li started life in Hong Kong in 1973 and began his art education at the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland and University of Coventry in England. He then moved to Calagry, Canada and completed his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Sculpture from the Alberta College of Arts and Design. Still wanting to make a bigger impression, Li moved to Toronto and in 2005 completed his Master of Architecture at the University of Toronto, where he currently resides. Li has worked for leading international architecture firms such as Kohn Pederson and Fox in New York City, Zeidler Architects in Toronto, and Sturgess Architects in Calgary.