Compelled by her ongoing effort in pursuing permanent resident status in Canada, Jenny Yujia Shi‘s Searching For A Place To Land explores themes of border-crossing, transience, and displacement. Her site specific installation consists of anonymous walking figures made with paper that has been texturized, glazed, stuffed and sewn onto a canvas backing. As Shi states, “while they hold a presence, they are physically limited by their surrounding space. The way the figures conform to the installation site is an attempt to comment on the way in which visa holders must conform to rigid criteria during the immigration process”. Searching For A Place To Land is in the Corridor Gallery November 2 – December 14.
Of the exhibition, Shi states:
The current focus of my work is rooted in my ongoing pursuit of permanent resident status in Canada. My process often begins with line drawings of silhouettes taken from photographs from my childhood. As the work evolves, the figures become integrated and obscured by layers of symbols derived from immigration documents and passport stamps. With the attempt to take the figures beyond the conventional rectangular border, I seek to draw a connection to personal experiences that fall outside of the official Canadian immigration narrative.
Jenny Yujia Shi is a visual artist and art educator living and working in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Shi began her studies at NSCAD as an international student where she completed a BFA (Painting, Printmaking) and a BA (Art History).
Her work is primarily drawn from her experience growing up in Beijing, as an international student in Halifax, and later as a temporary resident pursuing Canadian permanent resident status. Living in a predominantly white Canadian province and having her future under the control of the Canadian Immigration authorities, Shi is compelled to examine themes in displacement, border-crossing, immigration, and the emergence, erasure and reconfiguration of individual identity.
Since graduation, Shi has also been teaching art to children and youth as well as young adults with Down Syndrome in Halifax and Dartmouth. Art education has been a way for her to build connections with Nova Scotia, a place she hopes to make her home.
Located inside the Visual Arts Nova Scotia office at the Halifax Seaport since 2000, the Corridor Gallery is complimented by a historical legacy of Nova Scotia culture, simple yet modern architectural elements and an array of current cultural activity in the Cultural Federations of Nova Scotia office. The Corridor Gallery is located at 1113 Marginal Road, Halifax, Nova Scotia and is open Monday through Friday, 9:30am – 5pm.
Visual Arts Nova Scotia advances the visual arts through leadership, education, and communication.
High resolution image for press available via Dropbox.