In the Sunroom: Collection H

An assortment of folk style paintings are shown in a 4x4 grid. [Text] Collection: H by Colin Chen. On display May 5- June 15, 2024. The Sunroom, 5th Floor. Halifax Central Library.

On display from May 5 to June 15, in The Sunroom at Central Library, Collection: H by Colin Chen. 

Colin, who immigrated to Halifax in 2009, has a beautiful, vibrant art style that represents contemporary Chinese folk art. His artwork often draws from his hometown in Zhejiang province on the East China Sea, and people and experiences from his time in Nova Scotia.  

In his childhood, Colin never dreamed he’d one day be an artist. "I wanted to go to art school, but when I was growing up, my family was very poor," he says. Instead, he first learned how to paint by practicing on his own.  

Today, he works as a hairstylist, and has honed his skills by taking online painting lessons from an artist in his home country. He has raised more than $30,500 through an art auction fundraiser, with 100% of the proceeds going towards heartfelt community causes. In November 2021, Colin auctioned off 52 of his original paintings to help fund the QEII’s orthopaedic surgical robot, also sharing the funds raised with the QEII Thyroid Cancer Fund and the Chester Art Centre. 

“In my early painting career, I practiced modern Chinese Folk Art in Zhejiang, China. I developed intensive skills in woodcutting and acrylic painting. Further along my self-discovery practice, I grew interested in lacquer painting. I'm fascinated by its texture and finished effects. 

Before coming to Canada, my paintings primarily expressed the local customs of my homeland, reflecting most of my emotions, memories of my childhood, and stories about the mundane life of its local people. After I came to Halifax, my content expanded to include the narrative and life on the Canadian east coast.”

The Sunroom is made possible by the generosity of Margot and Layne Spafford.