We love learning more about our talented Northbound artists! This month, we had the chance to talk to artist Emma Lau about her exhibition, A Quiet Mind II

A Quiet Mind II showcases Emma’s paintings, all of which translate her meditation practice into fine art. Keep reading to learn more about Emma’s artwork, her meditation experience, and the role meditation plays in her art-making process! 

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your artwork?

My name is Emma Lau and I was born in 1979, London, England. I have lived in London, Hong Kong, and Toronto, having immersed in both The East and The West. My artwork explores visualizations of my meditation experience. My artwork is predominantly painting in abstraction using acrylic on canvas. The scale of my work varies from small canvases to canvases as tall as I am.

Can you tell us about your experience with meditation?

I had read a lot of spiritual books and books on Eastern philosophy and they all emphasized the importance of meditating as well as reading – that it was not enough to simply have the knowledge from reading – one must meditate too. In 2009, I found a group that believed, as I did, that the way to achieve a sustainable world peace was through individuals experiencing their inner peace and the way to this was through meditation. Through this group I was eventually invited to Thailand in 2010, where Buddhist monks who have mastered meditation guided me to meditate at a deep level. This had a profound effect on all aspects of my life and my subsequent artwork.

How does your meditation experience influence or guide your art-making process?

I meditate before each painting session. The meditation that precedes the beginning of a new painting is especially important. After meditation, I begin to paint. Part of my mind is still in the depths of the meditation and that affects the composition of the painting. I paint in abstraction, but there is an element of description to my work. As though of a place familiar though never visited. Sometimes there is a sense of an opening or gateway, perhaps to another dimension or a deeper level within meditation.

What do you hope people will take away from your exhibit? 

At the least, I hope people enjoy the experience of the exhibition and viewing the paintings. At most, I hope people (who do not yet meditate) may be inspired to try meditation some time in the future. I hope people further question the belief that there is something greater in existence than what we currently perceive.

A Quiet Mind II is on display from August 14 – August 29 at the Toronto Centre for the Arts. Public gallery hours are from Tuesday to Friday, 1-6 pm. There will be extended gallery hours on August 22 (5-8 pm) and August 24 (1:30-5 pm). 

An opening reception for Emma’s exhibit will take place on Thursday, August 15 from 6-9 pm. This event is free to attend! Click here to RSVP. 

To learn more, visit https://www.northyorkarts.org/project/lau/.

Interview by: Kavita Gurm

Communications and Events Assistant