‘Solidarity’ Exhibitions Spotlight Connections Between Indigenous and Chinese-Canadian Artists
The two upcoming group shows form part of a year-long programming series, which will include workshops, public forums and other events.
A pair of upcoming group exhibitions showcase artistic exchange between local Indigenous and Chinese-Canadian artists.
Presented by Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, the two exhibitions are part of a year-long public program. The program, called Solidarity, focuses on “intergenerational dialogue and public education on well-being and recovery through art, history, and culture,” according to the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden’s website.
The first exhibition, titled Rivers Have Mouths, opened June 12. The show includes artists Kelly Cannell – ʔəy̓xʷatəna:t, Angela George – qʷənat, Rick Harry – Xwalacktun, Laiwan – 朱麗雲, Sarah Ling – 凌慧意, Cease Wyss – T’uy’t’tanat and Lam Wong – 王藝林.
“Rivers Have Mouths was born out a desire to call attention to our interconnected histories and lived experiences on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh peoples,” reads a message written by Solidarity curators Sarah Ling and Lam Wong. “The artists who have joined our exchange highlight and honour the stories of Chinese-Indigenous relations and connections to land both past and present.”
“Our hope for this exhibition is to foster empathy, understanding and solidarity between our communities.”
Sarah Ling + Lam Wong
The theme of the river parallels the flow of the artists’ histories, the curators’ message continues. The Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden in Vancouver’s historic Chinatown neighbourhood provides an anchor point from which to explore and create awareness of these histories, and to observe shared responsibilities.
“Many of the challenges our communities have faced historically such as systemic discrimination and racism against Indigenous and Asian peoples are critical to put into conversation with the ongoing and everyday impacts of colonialism,” write Sarah and Lam. “Our hope for this exhibition, as part of the year-long program ‘Solidarity,’ is to foster empathy, understanding and solidarity between our communities as we envision what wellness and recovery looks like at both the individual and collective level.”
The second exhibition, Look Towards the Sun, is “an artistic exchange between Lam Wong, a Chinese Canadian diaspora artist from Hong Kong, and Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun, an artist of Cowichan and Syilx First Nations ancestry,” according to the exhibition text.
“All living beings, creatures, and spirits are interconnected. We all reside under the same sun. Creating reflection and dialogue on environmental concerns and the interconnectedness of people, culture, and place is at the essence of this exhibition.”
Curated by Sarah Ling, the show opens Sept. 23, 2021, and will run through December.
“As communities continue to combat the harmful impacts of anti-Indigenous and anti-Asian racism, we are reminded by Yuxweluptun and Wong to look towards the sun — to continually seek and reveal truth, to look within, to unlearn, to create connections, to reclaim, to restore, to fully know who we are as individuals and as nations.”
In addition to the two exhibitions, Solidarity will include artist workshops, public forums, and will produce art and cultural exchanges such as traditional medicine and music.
Find out more about Solidarity online, at solidarity2021.wordpress.com. Visit vancouverchinesegarden.com to learn more about the ongoing (in-person and online!) programming available at Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden.