The art of haiku in the spotlight in Dorval

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The Art of Haiku is a collaborative exhibition with local, regional and international poets, inspired by a selection of photos by award-winning photographer Hua Jin.

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For contemporary visual artist Hua Jin, working on the collaborative outdoor exhibit titled The Art of Haiku at the Peace Park Arboretum in Dorval has been a process full of delights and unexpected discoveries.

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“This public work connected me to a very ancient tradition of imagery, calligraphy and poetry,” Jin said.

The exhibit, created in collaboration with Haiku Canada, Montreal’s Black Tea Group Haiku and Friends of the Dorval Library, is presented on a series of large outdoor panels with 12 nature-inspired photos of Jin. Haiku poets from Canada and Japan were invited to write a poem for each of the images selected in the show. All of the poems appear in English and French and included in the exhibit are the hand-calligraphed versions of the three guest Japanese poets.

“When they wrote the haiku, I found that another space had been created,” Jin said. “I’m so excited because they found the ability to read my work like a poet. They added another dimension…another layer…another meaning.

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Born in China, Jin was a graphic designer for 10 years, and when both her parents passed away, it “changed her life”.

“Death made me rethink life and the meaning of my life and what I really wanted to do,” she recalls. “I was confused…so I started traveling. I traveled almost half of China by myself with a camera. It was the beginning.

Full of questions, she continues to travel, observing everything through the lens of her camera, most often seeking answers to her questions in the rhythms and changes she perceives in nature, and the “circles of life and death” that she perceives there.

“Gradually, I found a visual language,” Jin said. “That’s my way of thinking while watching.”

Her newfound dedication to artistic and personal research took her to Vancouver where she earned her BFA from Emily Carr University of Art and Design, and 10 years ago moved to Montreal. to complete her MFA at Concordia.

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She has exhibited extensively in Canada and abroad in group and solo exhibitions, and her works are included in numerous private and public collections, including those of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Global Affairs Canada and the Museum of contemporary art from Shanghai.

“When Dorval approached me about doing a project with photos and poetry, I said… ‘It’s perfect… It’s fantastic.'”

The Art of Haiku is Dorval’s third outdoor exhibition as part of an ongoing commitment to showcase more public art in the city.

“By offering outdoor exhibitions, our objective is to reach a new audience and to integrate culture (and) art into the daily lives and experiences of our citizens”, explains Andréanne Alain, head of the library and culture in Dorval. “Our hope is that passers-by will stop and take a bit of their day to admire the stunning photos, experience the beauty of haiku, and perhaps be inspired to try writing their own poetry.”

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The exhibition will be in place at the Arboretum du Parc de la Paix (1401 Lakeshore Drive), next to the Dorval Library and Cultural Center, until the end of August and will then be moved to the new space of display outside the Surrey Aquatic and Community Centre, where she will stay until January 20, 2023.

Seeing his work outdoors made Jin deepen his understanding of his artistic research.

“When you put your art outside, you have all the elements of nature…It feels alive.” she says. “The time changes from sunrise to sunset, the seasons change, you have green in summer, yellow in autumn. All this becomes the background of your work. It’s just rich.

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