“My inspiration came from Emily Carr’s Grey, which was displayed alongside ink landscapes by Hong Kongese artist Lui Shou Kwan in the Vancouver Art Gallery in 2017 for the exhibit entitled ‘空/EMPTINESS’. It reminded me of Lee Nam, a Chinese Canadian painter in Victoria who was an inspiring friend to Carr, yet he is only known from her journals as none of his art has been found. The erasure of artists of colour in Canada inspired my piece, and the way Carr elevated these underrepresented artists through her work made me question who gets to be Canadian. My painting depicts a pavilion in the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden in Vancouver, surrounded by nature in Carr’s landscape style. My mom loves this garden; like the pavilion she does not originate from this land, yet she is Canadian. A testament to the importance of representation in Canadian art for all.”
—Natalie Lait (Grade 12, Earl Marriott Secondary School, Surrey, British Columbia)
Beloved Canadian painter Emily Carr (1871–1945) communicated a deep love and respect for the natural world through her uniquely modernist landscapes, which both celebrated the majesty of nature, and often integrated a variety of cultural influences.