Vancouver International Centre for Contemporary Asian Art

No Shoes Reading Room / PAPAG @ Chinatown Night Market

No Shoes Reading Room / PAPAG @ Chinatown Night Market
Christian Vistan and Simon Grefiel
May 26-28, June 2-4, 2017, 6-10 pm
Please join us at the Chinatown Night Market, where Centre A will have a booth with diverse programming every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 6-10 pm, from May 26 – September 3.
We will host a range of events and projects by artists, writers and curators, starting off with Christian Vistan and Simon Grefiel’s No Shoes Reading Room / PAPAG.
Vistan and Grefiel’s “No Shoes Reading Room / PAPAG” features a 7×7′ papag built for the occasion and a selection of literature curated by Vistan and Grefiel from Centre A’s Library and Reading Room.
A papag is a platform usually made of bamboo, used for sitting and sleeping in the Philippines and other parts of Asia. The papag and the No Shoes Reading Room function as a communal space for visitors at this summer’s return of the Chinatown Night Market.

Come by this weekend, May 26-28, and next June 2-4, from 6-10 pm and take a seat in the shade upon the papag, take off your shoes and read.

Christian Vistan is a Vancouver-based Filipino Canadian artist originally from Bataan, a peninsular province in the Philippines. He has exhibited in Atlanta, Nashville, Boston and Vancouver. He recently completed his BFA from Emily Carr University of Art + Design. He currently holds the position of Curatorial Assistant at Centre A.
Simon Grefiel is a Vancouver based Filipino artist. He is currently working towards his BFA from Emily Carr University of Art + Design. He has held the position of Publications Intern at Centre A’s Reading Room and the Finlayson Collection of Rare Asian Art Books (2017).
Image: “Papag” proposed basic bed support made of wood by fabs V.

Artist Talk: Mehran Modarres and Qahraman Yousif

Artist Talk: Mehran Modarres and Qahraman Yousif
Centre A
May 6, 2017, 3 pm
Join us this Saturday at 3pm, for a pair of artist talks by Mehran Modarres and Qahraman Yousif. Modarres and Yousif will be speaking about their respected practices and the works included in SPRING EXHIBITION.
We would like to acknowledge that this talk takes place on the unceded territories of the Squamish, the Tsleil Waututh, and the Musqueam Peoples.

Mehran Modarres is a visual artist and educator living in Vancouver, BC. Her practice investigates notions related to preservation and loss of cultural identity by exploring the degradations and disruptions of translation, migration, and cultural displacement. She received her BFA in Visual Art and BA in Art Education from the University of British Columbia. Modarres is a graduate candidate of Emily Carr University of Art + Design’s Low-Res Master’s Program. Her works have been exhibited at Cityscape Art Gallery, North Vancouver, and in several group exhibitions at Surrey Art Gallery, and recently at the Concourse Gallery as part of the graduate interim exhibition at Emily Carr University.
Qahraman Yousif is a Kurdish artist and activist born in Syria in 1964. He studied history at Damascus University and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Arts from the University of the Fraser Valley. An active poet and writer, he was Chair of Kurdish Theater Association, Buhar, and one of the founding members of Syrian Student Theater in Al Hasakh province. His most recent installation, Lodge 179, is a work based on his first-hand experience as a prisoner following his arrest in Syria 1992. Memory is the main source of most of his artworks; wherein he addresses both what is cruel and painful, as well as the bright and beautiful. He does not limit himself to one medium, as he believes that the idea defines the materials necessary for the artwork. He is a member of the Cyprus Artists Association (Skala) and has had several art exhibitions in Syria, Cyprus, and Canada.

Anti-Racist Mathematics and Other Stories


Anti-Racist Mathematics and Other Stories
Byron Peters
April 29, 2017, 3 pm
Centre A
At the Annual Conservative Party Conference in 1987, Margaret Thatcher declared: “Children who need to count and multiply are being taught anti-racist mathematics, whatever that may be.”

Anti-Racist Mathematics and Other Stories is a presentation of tales from the history of mathematics, global power and communication technologies. From the notion of a ‘science of revolt’ declared by Brad Werner and contextualized by Donna Haraway, the history of the algorithm from al-Khw?rizm?, Karl Marx’s mathematical manuscripts, to IBM’s present-day algorithm that is cited to distinguish refugees from terrorists, this talk will speculate on the make-up of technical languages and what they could become.

We would like to acknowledge that this talk takes place on the unceded territories of the Squamish, the Tsleil Waututh, and Musqueam Peoples.

Byron Peters is an artist and writer of Chinese-Canadian and European descent. His practice critically engages labour and materiality in the context of emerging technologies; economic imaginaries; prison education; and the effects of gentrification and displacement. A participant in Centre A’s Centre B Studio Residency in 2016, his recent research investigates the shifting geographies in Vancouver in relation to social histories of exodus and succession, and speculative notions of ‘the crowd.’ Peters’ works take the forms of sound, video, sculpture, and writing, and have been presented at Oi, Hong Kong; ICA Miami; The Southbank Centre, London; The White Building, London; The Asian Art Museum of San Francisco; and The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, New York.

Image: Math homework at Beaver Ridge Elementary School, Georgia, USA. Credit: WSB-TV

The Unwelcome Dinner

The Unwelcome Dinner
Hosted by Henry Tsang
February 24, 2017
Roedde House Museum
The Unwelcome Dinner commemorates the 130th anniversary of Vancouver’s first anti-Chinese riot in Vancouver with a series of speakers and thematic menu that will catalyze conversation about the conditions surrounding the founding of this city to reflect on what has changed since then, and what attitudes and values that exist today that are eerily similar.

In 1887, just a few months after the incorporation of the City of Vancouver, white labourers arrived in Coal Harbour to drive out the Chinese crew brought in to clear the area of what would later become the West End. The mob attacked the workers, drove them away from their camp, then continued on to Chinatown where they looted homes and set fire to buildings. This event was but one of many acts of anti-Asian violence that moved north along the west coast, from San Francisco to Seattle and Tacoma, reflecting a growing sentiment among European workers and settlers who wanted to build a nation that excluded those whose values, religions and even hygiene were considered to be incompatible with their own. This was the time of the White Canada movement, the Asiatic Exclusion League, and the growth of racist legislations targeting those of Chinese, Japanese, Indian descent and indigenous peoples.

Local activist Hayne Wai will talk about the institutional racism that the Chinese have confronted since that time, raising questions about who has the right to call this place home. Hua Foundation Executive Director Kevin Huang will address how historical awareness and cultural traditions relate or conflict with contemporary and youth culture among Chinese Canadians and beyond. Food critic Stephanie Yuen will speak about the development and representation of Chinese cuisine in the city. And local acclaimed chefs Wesley Young and Jacob Deacon Evans have created a thematically-related menu that creates a conversation between the cultures and cuisines that seldom took place during the first century of Vancouver’s history.

Situated in the Roedde House Museum, this event is informed by the building’s idealized heritage character that reflects a period of Vancouver’s history that is under increasing pressure from real estate development. The Queen Anne revival style home was built six years after the riots in the former forest that the Chinese labourers were later brought back to remove. Gustave Roedde was a German immigrant who was Vancouver’s first bookbinder. The family was in some ways typical of the local nouveau middle class, with their Chinese houseboy Hung, but different from the Scottish and English merchants who drank whisky instead of wine, and tea rather than coffee. It was with this cultural difference in mind that the menu and drink list was developed, influenced also by archival menus from the late 1800s in Vancouver.

The Unwelcome Dinner invokes an opportunity to explore the 1887 riot as part Canada’s 150th birthday as a country. In this sesquicentennial year, what is being “celebrated”? Is it the long history of actions employing violence and legislation to disenfranchise and exclude peoples in the name of nation-building? Is it the recent Foreign Buyers Tax by the provincial government responding to the hysteria of Mainland Chinese investment capital flooding the Vancouver housing market? Is it the resurgence of racist political rhetoric urging restrictive immigration policies and the curtailing of human rights, this time targeting Muslims as potential terrorists or just simply “incompatible” with “Canadian culture”? What biases or prejudices are normative today that bear an uncanny resemblances to the injustices of the past, will be seen as obviously unjust in the near future?

Jacob Deacon-Evans and Wesley Young are both Vancouver-born London-trained chefs. Jacob has worked at Bishop’s, West, Wildebeest and l’Autre Pied. Wesley has worked at the Four Seasons, Tom Aikens, C, West, Wildebeest and is Executive Chef at PiDGiN.
Kevin Huang is a co-founder and Executive Director of Hua Foundation which supports Chinese-Canadian youth to participate in social and environmental change by connecting our shared values, diverse culture, and heritage.
Henry Tsang is an artist whose practice incorporates a broad spectrum of media to explore how identity is affected by global flows of people, culture and capital. Much of his work has centred on questions of community; how it is defined, who identifies with it, and how it is built. Henry teaches at Emily Carr University of Art & Design.
Hayne Wai is a founding member of the Chinese Canadian Historical Society of BC, a Trustee of the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, and has served on Federal, Provincial, and local boards on anti-racism, multiculturalism, and diversity. He co-authored Finding Memories, Tracing Routes and Eating Stories: A Chinese Canadian and Aboriginal Potluck.
Stephanie Yuen is a food & travel journalist for English and Chinese publications, CBC Radio and Fairchild Radio, and the author of “East Meets West – Traditional and Contemporary Asian Dishes from Acclaimed Vancouver Restaurants”.

“Centre A’s The Unwelcome Dinner to commemorate Vancouver’s first anti-Chinese riot of 1887” Craig Takeuchi, The Georgia Straight. February 15th, 2017.

“Vancouver racial history served up at ‘Unwelcome Dinner'” Kevin Griffin, Vancouver Sun, February 23rd, 2017.

Closing Performance: As Heavy as a Feather

A Glass of Wine – Part II
Anchi Lin and Alanna Ho
February 11, 2017
Centre A


On the occasion of the closing of Chang En-Man’s exhibition, As Heavy as a Feather, Anchi Lin will be performing Part II of her work A Glass of Wine with Alanna Ho.

A Glass of Wine – Part I is a video work with excerpts from a conversational exchange between Anchi Lin and Chang En-Man that occurred last November in Vancouver. The discussion revolved around the artists’ shared perspective on their Taiwanese identity, indigeneity, displacement and Canada. A Glass of Wine – Part II will be a live performance between Anchi Lin and Alanna Ho. The performance continues Lin’s extensive research on Chang’s exhibition, reflecting on the multi-faceted experiences of identity, colonial history and dynamics between Settler and Indigenous communities. Lin’s performance is a response to a book Chang included in her exhibition, The Taste of Ina, which collects the stories of young outcast Taiwanese Indigenous kids and the traditional recipes that were passed down to them by family.

A Glass of Wine – Part II will see Lin and Ho attempt to prepare a traditional familial dish from The Taste of Ina while experimenting with sounds, creating a space to examine the fluidity of identity by drawing on each performer’s personal histories.



Anchi Lin is an artist of Taiwanese heritage who lives and works in Vancouver. Her work negotiates and interfaces with concepts such as language, identity, and cultural norms. Her heritage has served as a catalyst for her exploration of these concepts. Lin received a BFA in Visual Art from Simon Fraser University School for the Contemporary Arts.

Alanna Ho is an emerging visual artist, musician, composer and interdisciplinary performer. She is the founder of Rainbow Forecast Project, a non-profit community initiative. This project aims to share children’s stories and generate contemporary art engagement by collaborating with their own creative ideas to produce large scale works.


Artist Talk: Clara Cheung & Gum Cheng Yee Man (C&G)

Artist Talk: Clara Cheung and Gum Cheng Yee Man (C&G)
January 25, 3pm
Centre A


Join us on Wednesday, January 25th at 3pm for a live recording of episode 2 of Get Tanned where guests and visiting artists Clara Cheung and Gum Cheng Yee Man (also known as C&G) join host Natalie Tan for a conversation about the intersections of art making, cultural policy and the state-society relationship.

Clara Cheung and Gum Cheng Yee Man are artists and founders of C&G Artpartment art space in Hong Kong. With a strong concern over the local art ecology, C&G use their art to respond to social and cultural issues. Their essential goal is to fill gaps in the current art scene in Hong Kong, and allow C&G Artpartment become an art space for the exchange of ideas. Over the past 8 years, C&G Artpartment has hosted more than 40 art exhibitions that included more than 70 local artists who respond to social and cultural issues in Hong Kong.

Their practice as the duo C&G is both humourous and challenging. The activities that C&G organise are often collective and participatory in nature, with a focus on issues surrounding the art ecology of Hong Kong as well as current events. In 2014, C&G were the artists-in-residence at Asia Art Archive and hosted ‘Not as Trivial as You Think: Hong Kong Art Quiz,’ in May 2014, in which many local artists participated to recall important but often forgotten stories from the past in Hong Kong art scene.

Get Tanned is a periodic podcast by Centre A’s Deputy Director, Natalie Tan. Through this podcast, Tan engages conversations about gender, race, power and representation in the arts and in society more broadly.

Please note, part of this talk will be in Cantonese with English translations.


Upon her graduation from Rhodes College (TN, USA) with the Bachelor Degree of Arts in Fine Art and Computer Science in 2002, CLARA CHEUNG received the Sally Becker Grinspan Award for Artistic Achievement and the Apollonian Award for Art History. She then studied for the Postgraduate Diploma in Education at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and received a Master’s Degree of Cultural Studies at Lingnan University afterwards. She was the panel head of the visual arts department in a Hong Kong high school from 2003 to 2007, is an active member of the non-profit art group, Project226, the founder of C&G Artpartment and a part-time lecturer at Hong Kong Baptist University. Her work has been included in solo and group exhibitions in Hong Kong and overseas, and have been collected by private collectors and art museums.

GUM CHENG YEE MAN was born in Hong Kong. In 1998, Cheng completed the social work programme at Hong Kong Polytechnic University. He graduated with distinction of Bachelor of Arts (Fine Art) in Drawing, at RMIT University in 2002. In 2007, Cheng received an M.A. in Comparative and Public History from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He is a registered social worker, part-time lecturer of HK Art School, founder of C&G Artpartment, Wooferten; and chairman of a Hong Kong non-profit art group “Project 226”. Since 2000, he has curated more than 100 art exhibitions, educational programmes, seminars, exchange programmes, and more. His curatorial direction mainly criticizes politics, social issues and the art eco-system. His artworks explore various media, like painting, drawing, performance, stop-motion animation, photography, video and installation.

Clara Cheung and Gum Cheng Yee Man have been invited to Vancouver by Remy Siu – composer, new media artist, and Co-Artistic Director of interdisciplinary company Hong Kong Exile. C&G’s visit has been made possible with assistance from BC Arts Council.


Listen to “Get Tanned! Episodes” on Spreaker.

Centre B Studio Residency – Artists Talk


Centre B Studio Residency – Artists Talk
December 10, 4pm
Centre B, 1981 Main St

As we wrap up our inaugural Centre B studio residency, we invite you to join us as we catch up with artists-in-residence Byron Peters and Beverly Ho. Beverly and Byron are both art makers who are also engaged in social activism in Chinatown and the Downtown East Side.

This talk will be a casual event where the artists will share about their art making practices, their experiences over the last few months and the relationship between art and social action.

We would like to acknowledge that this residency takes place on the unceded territories of the Squamish, the Tsleil Waututh, and Musqueam Peoples and offer gratitude to Sam Lu and the Mondivan team for their generous support of this initiative.

Nothing is possible at Centre A without the generous support of our community. To contribute, please consider making a donation at:

**image courtesy: Byron Peters, Added Value, 2016, a film score for a far-future documentary on surplus value, Installation at Oi!, Hong Kong

About the Centre B Studio Residency

Our inaugural, 2016 Centre B Residency supports the practice of two local artists engaged in work emerging from investigations of Asian-Canadian identity and the ongoing transformation of Vancouver’s urban environment. Taking place from September to December 2016, this residency culminates in an artist talk on December 10th.

BEVERLY HO is a Chinese-Canadian artist based in and from Vancouver investigating her cross cultural settler identity through a mix of traditional and found materials. She is involved in community organizing in Chinatown with its elderly Chinese residents against gentrification and displacement.

Interested in signage, text, and language, Ho works through notions of meaning, message, and understanding. Her working process is intuitive and unpredictable, and she often subverts normalized Western tropes by creating her own landscapes and spaces. She makes in the muddy area that is her identity to address the thousands of years of Han Chinese history she carries. The disconnect Ho feels between her physical appearance and heritage because of nearly three generations broken off from tradition is a result of the Cultural Revolution and ensuing migration of her family. She is working in the past and the present, towards the future.

BYRON PETERS is a Vancouver-based artist and writer of Chinese-Canadian and European descent. His practice critically engages labour and materiality in the context of emerging technologies; economic imaginaries; prison education; and the effects of gentrification and displacement. During his residency at Centre B, Peters will be working with shifting geographies in Vancouver in relation to social histories of exodus and succession, and speculative notions of ‘the crowd.’

His works take the forms of sound, video, sculpture, and writing, and have been presented at ICA Miami; The Southbank Centre, London; The White Building, London; The Asian Art Museum of San Francisco; The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, New York; and The Victoria and Albert Museum, London. His current project Added Value, an audio score for an unviewable film, will be exhibited at Oi, Hong Kong, in November 2016.

Mondivan is a forward thinking real estate development company based in Vancouver, British Columbia.