The Museum of Vancouver captures and exhibits parts of our city’s storied history that we’re not always cognizant of as we go for fancy drinks in Yaletown, or attend post-punk shows in East Van, or politely deal with offers of psychedelic drugs from naked strangers on Wreck Beach.
Exhibits showing now include Neon Vancouver – Ugly Vancouver, showcasing just some of the 19,000 neon signs that used to light up our city, post-war; Boarder X, featuring contemporary artists from various Indigenous nations, concerning themes of contested spaces, hybrid identities, and more.
But the one I’ll be focusing on in this article is A Seat at the Table, Chinese Immigration and British Columbia.
As stated in the Instagram post above, this exhibit features stories of Chinese Canadians in British Columbia, with all the historical and contemporary struggles that come with. It also features the strength in community that comes from these unique struggles and circumstances.
A Seat at the Table examines these things through the lens of food and restaurant culture.
One instance of storytelling through food in this exhibit is the Mother’s Cupboard portion, by Paul Wong.
And that’s not all – the MOV has also made the exhibition catalogue available to order online. This multilingual catalogue provides curatorial essays, and provides even further context to the items contained in the exhibit.
This exhibit truly is a gift to the outsider – I know I’m certainly going to take advantage of this opportunity to learn about the communities that truly make Vancouver what it is today. And it’s an important thing to come face-to-face the ugly reality that racism against Chinese Canadians isn’t only something that happened fifty-plus years ago.
I usually end these articles with something cute, or maybe a little pun, but that would be a disservice to the importance of this exhibit. So, I leave you with this: Go check out A Seat at the Table before it’s gone.