1 Gold Mountain (金山) pronounced as “Gum San” in Cantonese, is a commonly used nickname for San Francisco, California, and historically used broadly by Chinese people to refer to western regions of North America, including British Columbia, Canada. After gold was found in the Sierra Nevada in 1848, thousands of Chinese travellers from Taishan (Toisan), Guangdong, came to the West in search of riches during the California Gold Rush. And after gold was discovered in the lower Fraser Valley in 1857, large numbers of Chinese people from San Francisco, and directly from China, came seeking wealth both from digging gold and creating businesses. Even when the prosperous period of the gold rush ended in the 1860s and British Columbia faced adverse economic conditions, Chinese people continued to migrate to “Gum San.”
2 The word “Chinoiserie” (中國風) generally refers to a collection of objects, or a taste for decoration, created in the Western idea of Chinese style and closely tied to wider fantasies of “the Orient.” Academic Diana Yeh notes that, recently, the term has extended beyond the decorative arts “to highlight the continuing aesthetic investment in an exotic China across cultural forms from literature to theatre, film, music, and others, into the twenty-first century. Chinoiserie can be understood not only as a term applied to objects or cultural forms in a Chinese style but as a practice and a mode of discourse that is constitutive of the racial formations of modernity.” See Diana Yeh, “Staging China, Excising the Chinese: Lady Precious Stream and the Darker Side of Chinoiserie,” in A. Witchard, ed., British Modernism and Chinoiserie (Edinburgh University Press, 2015), https://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/14480/1/Staging%20China%20Excising%20the%20Chinese.pdf.
3 “Karen Tam & Shellie Zhang in Conversation” at the Koffler Centre of the Arts, January 26, 2020.
4 Su Zheng, “Music Here and Now: A Diasporic Soundscape in a Global City,” in Claiming diaspora: music, transnationalism, and cultural politics in Asian/Chinese America (Oxford University Press, 2010), 137.
5 W.C. Ng, “Chinatown Theatre as Transnational Business: New Evidence from Vancouver during the Exclusion Era,” BC Studies: The British Columbian Quarterly 148 (2005), 25–54.
lives and works in Montréal and holds an MFA in Sculpture from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a PhD in Cultural Studies from Goldsmiths (University of London). Since 2000, she has exhibited her work and participated in residencies in North America, Europe and China, including the Deutsche Börse Residency at the Frankfurter Kunstverein (Germany), Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (Canada), and CUE Art Foundation (USA). Her works are in museum, corporate, and private collections in Canada, United States, and United Kingdom. Tam is a contributor to Alison Hulme’s (ed.) book, The Changing Landscape of China's Consumerism (2014) and to John Jung's book, Sweet and Sour: Life in Chinese Family Restaurant (2010). She is represented by Galerie Hugues Charbonneau.
Henry Heng Lu
is a curator, artist and programmer of moving images, living between Vancouver and Toronto. Currently, he is Curator at Centre A: Vancouver International Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. He has presented independent projects through Creative Time Summit, Art Museum at the University of Toronto, CONTACT Photography Festival, OCT Contemporary Art Terminal Shenzhen, The New Gallery, Vtape, Trinity Square Video, and Toronto Fringe Festival. His writing has been published by Canadian Art, ArtAsiaPacific, Yishu: Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art, C Magazine, ArchDaily, and for Richmond Art Gallery, PLATFORM Gallery and Gardiner Museum. Lu holds a Master of Visual Studies from the University of Toronto. He is co-founder of Call Again, a mobile initiative/collective committed to creating space for contemporary Asian diasporic artistic practices, through exhibitions, screenings and roundtables.
Essay: Henry Heng Lu. Design: Tony Hewer. Editing: Shannon Anderson.
Koffler Gallery installation photos: Toni Hafkenscheid
Digital Publication to the exhibition Karen Tam: the chrysanthemum has opened twelve times
Presented by the Koffler Gallery | January 23 – March 29, 2020 | Curator: Mona Filip
© Koffler Centre of the Arts, 2020, in collaboration with the individual contributors. All rights reserved. ISBN 978-1-928175-21-6.