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Gold Mountain, 2010

Clare Yow’s work revolves primarily around the politics of identity and being—in particular, how race, transnationality, and feminist culture intersect with the everyday and readymade. From her early days as a photographer, it has been vital to memorialize the very ordinary and seemingly unremarkable. This practice has continued through other mediums including performance, installation, and sculpture.

Embodiment, consumption, labour, and loss continually inform Yow’s ideas. They colour the landscape where her subjectivities and personal politics as a Chinese-Canadian, an immigrant, a settler, feminist woman, and community member, all collide.

Yow’s pieces straddle the streams of conceptual art and documentary photography. In this realm, the need to situate herself and interrogate memories⁠—all the while honouring lived experience—underpins her research and concepts. As she has come to discern over time, Yow’s practice extends beyond traditional notions of what contemporary art-making can entail. It is inspired and shaped by community, and driven by social change and justice.

Art is thoroughly embedded into my everyday. It encompasses everything from participating in community projects, attending rallies, and volunteering, to listening, lifting up, resisting, and above all, who-what-how I love. As a racialized woman in this white supremacist capitalist patriarchy (an incredibly resonant term by bell hooks), the personal is always a matter of politics for me.