Yilu Xing

Artist in Residence
2022/2023 Emerging Artist in Residence
An art installation featuring a wood board with images of hands engraved on it, with flat round pieces of dough laid out on the surface.

Yilu Xing is an artist based in amiskwacîwâskahikan (Edmonton) in the Treaty 6 region of Alberta. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Alberta University of the Arts with a major in Printmaking and a minor in ceramics. As of 2022, Xing is an MFA candidate at the University of Alberta specializing in Printmaking. Immigrating from China at a young age, her definition of home is deeply rooted in food and familial traditions. She is enthusiastic about food and the human connections that food generates. By creating works about food, through which everyone might establish emotional relationships regardless of their backgrounds, she shares her stories and expresses parts of Chinese culture’s happiness, comfort, and nostalgia. 

Yilu Xing's photo.

Artist Statement

In my creative research, I explore the connections and relationships created through the making and sharing of food: the connections with people around me, growing relationships with my future self, and the familial food traditions. Growing up in a Chinese cultural background, I have experienced culinary culture being the most vital part of general Chinese culture. The habits of understanding cultures from a culinary perspective have been directing me in art creation and the ways I express myself as a person.

I love how food brings people together in Chinese culture. Whether it is festival time, family and friends gathering, celebrations and condolences, farewell and welcoming, art creation, philosophical thinking, anything and everything that involves people are inseparable from food. From the linguistic aspects, “to eat” is given various emotional colours by Chinese people. Being sought after and getting benefits are “eat fragrant or sweet” in Chinese literal meaning; being left out is “eat the closed door”; being in hardship is “eat bitter”; being popular among people is “eat the open”; suffering losses is “eat loss”; and landing oneself in serious troubles is “can’t finish eating, take it away.” “To eat” is omnipresent in the daily life of Chinese people, not only limited to edibles.

Currently, I am working on my MFA thesis exhibition 吃得开 eat the open. I create prints, drawings, ceramics, videos, installation, and interactive projects influenced by the social meanings and relationships that food generates. I chose the Chinese adjective 吃得开 (eat the open) as the exhibition title to describe a state of being popular; when people are involved, food always eats the open. In the repetitive process of buying groceries, cooking meals, dining out, documenting food, and learning to cook from family members, I try to find a harmonious state of connecting with myself, the people around me, and my cultural background.

An art print featuring caps of Chinese and other Asian sauce bottles as seen from above, screenprinted in reds and yellows
What are you cooking today? (2021-present), CMYK prints, 22” x 30”