#CouncilSpotlight – Howie Tsui

Jennifer Clark

Photo credit: Rémi Thériault

The Ottawa Arts Council supports artists and arts organizations through leadership, guidance and the provision of opportunities to advance our local creative potential. Our new series #CouncilSpotlight presents stories and experiences of Arts Council members and art award recipients.

Howie Tsui received the Ottawa Arts Council's Corel Endowment Fund for the Arts Award in 2010, which resulted in Celestials of Saltwater City (2011). Howie then went on to receive the RBC Emerging Artist Award in 2012.

Howie Tsui: Be Ambitious

Howie Tsui (Photo Credit: Rachel Topham, courtesy of the Vancouver Art Gallery)

Photo Credit: Rachel Topham, courtesy of the Vancouver Art Gallery

Where are you from? Are you from the Ottawa area?

HT: I was born in Hong Kong and grew up in Lagos and Thunder Bay.

How did you get involved in the Ottawa arts community?

HT: After art school, I held a part-time job at the Ottawa Art Gallery. I quickly became familiarized with all the tenants of Arts Court. I was also connected to the local music community prior to moving to Ottawa.

How would you describe your artistic practice/discipline?

HT: Visual Art - drawing, sculpture, and media.

What impact has your involvement with the arts/the Ottawa arts community had on your life?

HT: It created a sense of belonging and broadened my perspective. It taught me how to become a working artist and helped me develop a more critical approach to engaging with art.

Is there a specific moment/situation in your art career that you remember fondly?

HT: My participation as an exhibiting artist in the National Gallery's "Shine A Light" exhibition was significant. It marked my return to Ottawa after having relocated, a return to the site of my wedding and a moment where I could bring my newborn kid to his first opening.

Do you have any advice for artists in the Ottawa community or artists in general?

HT: Take advantage and learn from the supportive and nurturing community you have. Be ambitious, take risks, work collectively and resist patting yourself on the back so quickly.

What are you currently working on?

HT: Just slowly pushing a scattered array of new work along and arranging tours for my recent project 'Retainers of Anarchy'.

What was it like to receive an award from the Ottawa Arts Council? How did it impact your career?

HT: It was a proud moment to be acknowledged publicly and along with my peers for my work. It gave me confidence to continue practicing and to trust my instincts.

Want to learn more about Howie and find out where you can see his work? You can visit www.howietsui.com and follow @HowieTsui.Art on Facebook and @howie_tsui on Instagram.


Nominations for the Ottawa Arts Council's Corel Endowment Fund for the Arts Award and for the RBC Emerging Artist Award open February 2018.