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Sami Tsang is a Canadian-born Chinese and was raised in Hong Kong. The most impactful experience she had there was studying traditional Chinese painting for 7 years. At age 12, she returned to Canada to pursue her passion for art. In 2015, she obtained her BFA in Ceramic Art at Sheridan College. In 2021, she received her MFA degree in Ceramic Art at Alfred University. Sami had been awarded Best in Show at the Gardiner Museum, Clifford Scholarship, and Mudtools Merit Award at Nceca Juried Student Exhibition in 2019.
Growing up as the youngest child of a conservative Hong Kong family, her voice was not welcomed. At 12, she moved back to Canada, where a series of traumatic issues were created by the constant flux amidst two cultures - Chinese and Western. At 20, she began to resist her traditional role. She gathers stories of domestic encounters and private narratives. Her ultimate goal is to face head-on the heavy hearted matter. When the heart allows, she converts these stories through the work of cartoonistic gesture into bearable, yet straightforward imagery to reveal the raw emotional experiences we share.
While the origin of pâte-de-verre technique that Emori employs is ancient, it does not have firmly established procedures. As a result, it offers infinite new expressions and possibilities. She is fascinated with the translucent coloured lights produced with the method. She keeps on pushing the limits beyond what has already been done. It is an ever-continuing experimentation.
The phrase, “medium is the message” by Marshall McLuhan, describes well what she does. Emori grew up in a big garden by the sea. In the 13th century, there was an outstanding poet who was, at the same time, the ruler of Japan. She loves reading and re-reading his powerful poems of the sea. The dancing, joyous movements of the waves resonate not only in her but are translated into the glass pieces she creates.
Emori started taking pâte-de-verre classes at the Sanko glass factory in an industrial area in Tokyo, in the early 1990s. Her academic degrees and honours are: National Diploma in Design (United Kingdom), Master of Fine Arts (Yale University), Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, Fellow of Graphic Designers of Canada.
Within her work, Rachael uses scrap fabric, which she cuts, layers and paints with gouache to create textural and narrative pieces. Embroidery and paper is added. The result is a collage-like piece that creates a visual metaphor, connecting current events and human experiences. She also works to explore her own family history, the secrets, taboos and stigmas faced by the women in her family. The use of textiles is intrinsic to Rachael's work. It allows her to connect with the viewer, as it appeals to their sense of nostalgia; it connects them to something that is in all our histories -- the handiwork, embroidery, quilts, and other objects our grandmothers and great grandmothers made that were, in essence, art.
Rachael has a background in Social Services but maintained her love and passion for art. She had exhibited her work for the first time in 2010 and has since participated in multiple exhibitions and received multiple awards and grants including best mixed media at Riverdale Art Walk, top 5 installations for DesignTO and has received grants through the Ontario Arts Council and Toronto Arts Council. She took 5 years off from exhibiting to have two beautiful daughters.