With diminishment and without splendour, from the series “The sun will always set”, digital mock-up of forthcoming 20 in x 24 in giclee print, cut outs in vellum paper, found poem, 2023
Source (used with permission): Poster on Chinese immigration, 1923, Library and Archives Canada/Chinese (Nationalist) Consular records/e010833850
On July 1st, 2023, Chinese-Canadian communities across what is colonially known as “Canada” will observe the centenary of the 1923 Chinese Immigration Act, 100 years to the very day that the Act went into effect. In Vancouver’s Chinatown, there was a deliberate refusal to celebrate Dominion Day, led by the Committee for July 1 Humiliation to Overseas Chinese. July 1st became known instead as “Humiliation Day” for many years.
Chinese communities from sea to sea were deeply harmed by this racist legislation that enforced a near-total ban of immigration by anyone of Chinese origin or descent to Canada. All Chinese people residing within the country or aiming to enter had to register with the Department of Immigration and Colonization and carry an identification certificate—part of the Chinese Immigration or C.I. system—that tracked and controlled individuals’ movements in and out of, and within, the nation state.
This artwork, With diminishment and without splendour, features a found poem within a 1923 Chinese Immigration Act poster. It recognizes the colonization, colonialism, and white supremacy that so-called “Canada” was built—and continues to be built—on. We cannot observe this centenary without staunchly naming and fighting against these active and ongoing projects that continue to cause harm, particularly to Indigenous communities and their homelands.
What does it mean to land, to make a home, to welcome, to be in right relations with one another and the very land, water, and sky themselves?
More artworks, as part of this series, will be shared in the coming months. Stay tuned!
Project funding gratefully received from BC Arts Council.