There is always the first time for everything, especially opening a new chapter in life. Graduating from college? Becoming a wife or a husband? The case is not particularly different for Sidi He, a Chinese-Canadian artist who dedicates her life to considering the image of homeland in the context of globalization, as she enters her most important stage – being a mom.
As an immigrant in Canada and a long-term traveler, Sidi always feels nostalgic about her birthplace, Guangdong. Consequently, she embodied her feelings for Guangdong in her art creation, including Echoes from Home, Take Me Home, and Walking on Time. Echoes from Home is a very unique project that the artist installed in her grandparents’ village, Xiexiangtang. The village has become a ghost town as more people move out for career opportunities in the cities nearby. By applying the real-life heartbeat sounds of elderly residents in town as echos, Sidi wants to bring back life into the village. “Living far from home is very difficult, and I want to capture a memory of this beautiful and traditional place, where my family and I have memories,” Sidi stated.
“I spent lots of time in nature during my childhood. I caught and stored insects in glass bottles to observe their beauty because of my affection for these magical creatures,” says Sidi. Inspired by her childhood memories, the Take Me Home project was created to motivate people to ruminate about their relationship to nature and nostalgia. Placing pieces belonging to nature like leaves and insects in little bottles, the artist creates a distance between the viewer and nature. She thinks humans have utilized and exploited nature to create industrial products and aims to help viewers start questioning their relationship to nature through the presentation of Take Me Home.
Another Sidi’s artwork around the theme of nature is called Walking on Time. “When I was creating Walking on Time, I thought about landscapes in Guangdong. I imagined myself walking into the landscape in the painting. I imagined myself going home,” she said.
Sidi recently started a new chapter in her life: being a mom. “My focus and design have a huge transition from immigration to family. Now, mom has become a new part of my identity. I know some people and artists might lose themselves in motherhood, but I focus on myself while balancing my work and family life,” she noted.
The artist draws inspiration from Csilla Klenyánszki, a founder of Mothers in Arts Residency, a studio space combined with communal daycare. Sidi’s favorite work from Csilla is called Pillars of Home, the ninety-eight balancing sculptures created during her son’s napping time. Csilla’s achievement of work-life balance encourages Sidi to continue pursuing her passion for art.
For more information about Sidi He and her projects, visit sidihe.com.
About Sidi He
Sidi He is a Chinese-Canadian artist, born in Guangdong and grew up in Canada. She honed her art critique skills and earned her MFA in Fine Arts at Parsons. Her work questions how homelands exist in people’s imagination and how the collective experience of homeland resonates differently.