Goonj! Being Brown in Chinatown

When 18 Jul 2015 - 15 Aug 2015
Where Centre A
229 East Georgia St.
Vancouver, CA V6A 1Z6
Enquiry (604) 683-8326

Opening Reception: Saturday, July 18, 5pm

Yule Ken Lum, Nisha Kaur Sembi, Jagdeep Raina
Curated by Naveen Girn
Presented in association with Indian Summer Festival

Whenever South Asians have been included in the history of Vancouver, it has often been as a funny anecdote or a cursory sidebar that reaffirms a racial stereotype. However, the South Asian community has a rich oral history and vibrant print culture that points to a century long presence in Vancouver’s Chinatown that is not reflected in the “official archives”. These stories speak of friendships, building communities, shared political action, and intercultural ties that sought to redefine the idea of Vancouver as something other than “White Man’s Country”.

Goonj! Being Brown in Chinatown brings together a trio of young Asian artists along the West Coast who are engaged with the processes of historical remembering and re-imagining. They centre the existence of South Asian history in the space of an early, emerging Chinatown and interact with the revolutionary echoes of past and future struggles. Bay area based graffiti artist Nisha Sembi reconnects the histories of the Pacific Coast Gadhar movements through pop art and graffiti. Emerging artist Jagdeep Raina uses charcoal and paint to refashion archival photos of South Asians as palimpsests of history and memory. Yule Ken Lum stitches together old blue jeans to reconstruct a blue cyanotype taken in the aftermath of the Chinatown Race Riot of 1907. Surrounded by archival images of the Sikh community, the voices of pioneers in song, and old issues of freedom newspapers, Goonj! Being Brown in Chinatown creates the evidence of our past by seeing old forms in new ways.

Photo courtesy of the organiser/s

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