435 King Street East, Cambridge, ON
This installation comprises 20 years of slips of fortunes from Chinese dessert cookies collected by the artist from his family's restaurant as well as those from communities across the country. Li's exploration of his culture, Chinese diaspora, and its economic history in Canada (Chinese restaurants as one of few limited options for economic gains among the early immigration communities) includes a media work of his father's voice reading out the possible futures for the visitors. Questions of labour and promise of better futures are at the core of Li's installation in what is an immersive and clinical presentation of these potential dreams. Seductive and sterile all at once, it questions our desires and by sheer volume of the collection itself, questions the idea of desire and excess.
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.