Ken Alin: Explore Yin-Yang, Discover Tai-Chi

As part of Virtual explorASIAN 2020, the Interconnected Project continues its celebration of Asian Heritage Month online, casting a light on art exhibitions that focus on Asian heritage and culture. In this article we highlight the work of artist Ken Alin. 

Ken Alin is a Vancouver based visual artist whose work explores themes related to fusion and the search for harmony. Alin draws from Taoism (道家) which philosophizes that the natural and spiritual worlds are governed by the energy of the Tao. The artist focuses his examination on how the merging and blending of opposing elements creates a unified whole. Both his body of work and his techniques are directed towards the expression of this synthesis. As such, Alin refers to himself as the Fusionist.

Ken Alin. The smiles of Tai-Chi. Photo courtesy of the Artist.

This work, which Alin created for the 2020 explorASIAN festival, is based on the Tai Chi diagram. The artist used twenty-four Tai Chi diagram masks representing different races and a variety of human identities. By giving each of the masks its own smile, the work seeks to express the human ability to integrate and operate regardless of race, in an effort to create a better civilization.

This examination of the complementary relationship between opposites is extended in his online exhibition entitled Explore Yin-Yang, Discover Tai-Chi. In this collection of works, Alin pays particular attention to the attributes of the energy of the Tao, specifically the “Yin” and the “Yang”. According to Alin, “These attributes of different properties can exist separately, but they will attract each other, and operate vigorously to merge into invisible new energy or new elements, or visible matter.” 

Ken Alin. The Fusion of Yin and Yang. Photo courtesy of the Artist.

The artist characterizes the Tai-Chi diagram widely known in China and in the Eastern world as a symbol of the fusion between the Yin and the Yang. “The black part of the Tai Chi Diagram symbolizes the Yin, and the white symbolizes the Yang. The two merge with each other and move from left to right to form an endless circle, indicating that things have reached a perfect state. Simply put, Tai Chi Diagram is symbolizing that “Yin-Yang” is fusing to reach a perfect harmony.”

Explore Yin-Yang, Discover Tai-Chi will be presented on Ken Alin’s website as part of the ExplorASIAN festival from the 27th of April to the 31st of May.