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New year-long artist residency, 身在唐人街 / Occupying Chinatown launches April 22

April 13 2018 Past meets present at the Dr. Sun Yat-sen Classical Chinese Garden with artist Paul Wong

The residency will include exhibitions, screenings, collaborations with other artists, workshops, performances, events, a website, and a book.

Grandfather Chen and letters to the artist’s mother

On April 22, artist Paul Wong will launch a year-long residency, 身在唐人街 / Occupying Chinatown, at the Dr. Sun Yat-sen Classical Chinese Garden to coincide with the City of Vancouver’s formal apology for the historical discrimination against Chinese residents in Vancouver.

Wong will be creating a series of multidisciplinary artworks based on 700 letters in Chinese sent by 90 writers to his mother Suk-Fong Wong from 1946 to 2016. The residency will include exhibitions, screenings, collaborations with other artists, workshops, performances, events, a website and a book. 

Featured works in the residency 

The first featured work will be the screening of Wong’s video, Ordinary Shadows, Chinese Shade (1988, 89 minutes, colour, in Chinese with English Subtitles) from April 22nd to June 11th, 2018. Located in the Scholar’s Study within the Garden, this film is Wong’s exploration of his second-generation Chinese-Canadian perspective on the Chinese here in Canada, and in China. Ordinary Shadows, Chinese Shade will also be available to view online from April 22 to June 11.

Watch the video External website
 
The video will be open to the public for free viewing during Chinatown Culture Day on April 22. Wong will be available to discuss the concepts behind his residency at the Occupying Chinatown Studio at BC Artscape – 268 Keefer Street, Suite 427 from 3:30pm to 5pm. 
 
Later this spring Wong will create a new neon work called 咸水埠温哥华 / Haam Sui Fow Wun Goh Wah.  The neon sign will be mounted on the Garden’s exterior southern wall, above the Moon Gate. This will demarcate and acknowledge Chinatown’s Toisanese pioneers. In Chinese, the sign reads as Saltwater City (咸水埠 / Haam Sui Fow) and Vancouver (温哥华 / Wun Goh Wah). 

About the commissioning process

Occupying Chinatown is one of six new public art projects commissioned by the City of Vancouver through an invitation to artists to propose artworks for the city.

Read a description of all six initiatives
 
Occupying Chinatown is commissioned in partnership with the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. Wong also received support from the BC Arts Council for this project.

About the artist

Paul Wong has been creating daring work for over 40 years, pushing the boundaries of conventional cultural stereotypes and art. He has produced large-scale interdisciplinary artworks in unexpected public spaces since the 1970s. His work subverts stereotypes in form and content. Many works are bilingual, and trilingual, meshing English, Cantonese and Mandarin.

Works relevant to this project include:

  • Ordinary Shadows, Chinese Shade (Cantonese and English) (1988)
  • Chinaman’s Peak: Walking the Mountain (1992)
  • Blending Milk and Water: Sex in the New World (1996)
  • Widows 97 (1997)
  • Wah-Q: The Overseas Chinese (1998)
  • Refugee Class of 2000 (2000)

Visit Paul Wong's website