Kai Chan was born in 1940 in war time China. This childhood experience has been a significant foundation in building his work, namely looking for stability and peace. He moved with his family to Hong Kong in 1949, and, In 1966 immigrated to Canada. This changing of locations and countries have informed him in his art practice, the passage from the East to West regularly appeared in his work. The environment in Canada has also inspired him in the appreciation of simple things in life. He often used material from his household, such as newspaper, toothpick, spices or tree branches from his garden. His aim is to look for things beyond what is there and to see things that are not there.

Kai Chan has exhibited his work across Canada, the United States, Japan, Australia and Europe. His solo exhibition, ”Rainbow Lakes” began in 2002 traveled to 8 public galleries across Canada. “Kai Chan: Spider's Logic”, a 35 years retrospective exhibition beginning in 2010 is touring to 6 cities. He has received numerous grants from the Canada Council and the Ontario Arts Council as well as several prestigious awards including the Jean A. Chalmers National Crafts Award [1998], and the Prix Saidye Bronfman Award for Excellence in the Crafts [2002]. His work is in the following collections: Musée d’art de Joliette, Québec; Musée d’art de Baie-Saint-Paul, Québec; Museum London, London, Ontario; Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon, SK; The Art ;Gallery of Sudbury, Ontario; Musée des Arts Decoratifs de Montréal; The Canadian Museum of Civilization, Hull, Québec; The Library and Gallery, Cambridge, Ontario; Mississauga Living Arts Centre, Ontario; and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Canada.

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Work 2019-

Start from zero

Work 2011-2016

In recent years simplicity is weighting
strongly in the process of my creation.


In presenting my work, the surrounding condition is a major consideration for me. For the same reason, I am attracted to create work in installation format - the space, the room, the natural and artificial lighting as well as the air need to scrutinize in order to adjust to enliven the work.

Work 1975-2010

In my early work, threads were the primary material I used. Then, I found bamboo has similar characteristic as threads, being linear and three-dimensional. From there I extend to twigs, to toothpicks. Later on I picked up a lot material around the house, particularly from the kitchen.


In doing drawings my mind and hands work together, as in dancing, the emotions follow.


Silkscreen technique allows me to do multi-layering. The images comes from Chinese calligraphy practice.


Jewellery making is an extension of my textile and sculpture making, the smaller sale and body fitting are part of the interests of this creating process


Things to come