Vancouver International Centre for Contemporary Asian Art

The Unwelcome Dinner

The Unwelcome Dinner

Hosted by Henry Tsang

February 24th, 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.

Morgan Wong – Artist Talk

















Artist Talk – Morgan Wong with Howie Tsui
September 10 2016, 4pm
Centre A

Join us on Saturday, September 10th at 4pm for a talk by Centre A’s current exhibiting artist Morgan Wong, hosted by Howie Tsui.



MORGAN WONG currently lives and works in Hong Kong. Shortlisted for the Sovereign Art Prize and featured in Hong Kong Basel Encounters, Wong has exhibited extensively in Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, China, Australia and Europe. His exhibition, Mean Time, at Centre A marks his North American debut.

Vancouver-based artist HOWIE TSUI was born in Hong Kong and raised in Lagos, Nigeria and Thunder Bay. He holds a BFA (2002) in painting from the University of Waterloo and received the Joseph S. Stauffer Prize (2005) from the Canada Council for most outstanding young artist. His work is in the public collections of the National Gallery of Canada, Canada Council Art Bank, City of Ottawa, Ottawa Art Gallery and Centre d’exposition de Baie-Saint-Paul. Solo exhibitions include Gallery 101, Carleton University Art Gallery, AceArtInc (Winnipeg), Montréal arts interculturels, Centre A (Vancouver), Agnes Etherington Art Centre (Kingston), Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba, with group engagements at the West Vancouver Museum, Boston University School of Fine Arts and the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco.

Talks & Screenings: Dead Water Convulsion–Hong Kong–1980s


A conversation between Leung Chi Wo and Josh Hon
2270 Sauder Industries Policy Room
SFU David See-Chai Lam Centre for International Communication, 515 W Hastings
July 8, 2016 | 3:30 pm

Centre A guest curator Leung Chi Wo and artist Josh Hon explore the art and political scene of Hong Kong in the 1980s in this presentation. Hon, as a pioneering artist of the 1980s left Hong Kong at the peak of his career to move to Hope, British Columbia timed specifically after the Tiananmen Square Massacre of 1989. Historically, many other Hong Kong citizens also left Hong Kong for North America at this time.

Hon’s multi-varied work of painting, theatre and installations as well as his own identity as both Hong Kongese and Canadian will be discussed.

An english subtitled episode of Art Magazine: “Art & Politics” will also be screened, a Hong Kong TV program that prominently featured Josh Hon.

This conversation is taking place in conjunction with Josh Hon’s exhibition, Dead Water Convulsion—Hong Kong—1980s, currently on display at Centre A.

Screening and Artist Talk with Josh Hon
Saturday, July 16, 2016, 4pm
Centre A, 229 East Georgia Street

This Saturday, we will be screening an English subtitled episode of RTHK’s Art Magazine ‘Communication’, a 1980s Hong Kong TV program that prominently featured Josh Hon. Following the screening, Josh Hon and Hong Kong Exile’s Natalie Tin Yin Gan will have a conversation about Hon’s work and communication with Centre A’s current exhibition, Dead Water Convulsion–Hong Kong–1980s, as the backdrop.

In Dead Water Convulsion–Hong Kong–1980’s, Josh Hon and exhibition curator Leung Chi Wo looks back at the art and political scene of Hong Kong in the 1980s. Hon, as a pioneering artist of the 1980s left Hong Kong at the peak of his career to move to Hope, British Columbia, after the Tiananmen Square Massacre of 1989. Historically, many other Hong Kong citizens also left Hong Kong for North America at this time.

JOSH HON was one of the most known artists in the 1980s in Hong Kong but faded out from the Hong Kong art scene in the early 1990s when he immigrated to Hope, British Columbia. However, with his cross-disciplinary practice from theatre performance to multi-media installation, he still remains as one of the most well-remembered artists of his time in Hong Kong art history. In the 1980s, his one-man show at the Hong Kong arts centre was critically acclaimed and cemented his role as a key pioneering figure in the Hong Kong arts scene. Hon’s brief career in the 1980s is an example of the first generation of Hong Kong artists who made use of a rather global art language without a burden of the Chinese tradition. This recollection of his artistic practice and his life in Hong Kong establishes the notion of memory in the study of Hong Kong art prior to any historical writing.

LEUNG CHI WO is a Hong Kong visual artist and currently teaches at the School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong His works mainly range from photography, installation, paintings and videos. Leung was also one of the co-founders of Para/Site Art Space in Hong Kong—which was established in early 1996 and was the first exhibition-making institution of contemporary art in Hong Kong. For this exhibition, Leung is acting curator and researcher of Josh Hon: Dead Water Convulsion—Hong Kong—1980s.

Events & Performances: Here I only worry about my feet, your feet, everybody’s feet

13239968_1066898786690269_7019004136833266890_nHere I only worry about my feet, your feet, everybody’s feet is a series of events, performances and artist projects curated by Christian Vistan, taking place from June 3 to July 2, 2016 at and around Centre A, 229 East Georgia in Vancouver’s Chinatown. This month-long program includes performative, collaborative and participatory works and projects by Mika Agari (Nashville, TN), Keely O’Brien with Popcorn Galaxies (Vancouver), Soraya Pathman (Vancouver), Kiyoshi Whitley (Vancouver), Tongyu Zhao (Chicago, IL) and Pongsakorn (Vancouver).

June 22-24, 2016 | 7:30pm

June 25, 2016 | 6pm

Kiyoshi Whitley: Projections Under One’s Tongue / Hanabi

at Centre A


Kiyoshi Whitley will occupy Centre A’s main gallery space for a series of performances over four nights, Projections Under One’s Tongue / Hanabi. June 22, Wednesday 7:30pm (limited seating – no late entry), June 23, Thursday 7:30pm (limited seating – no late entry), June 24, Friday 7:30pm and June 25, Saturday 6-10pm.


“Projections Under One’s Tongue / Hanabi” is


a series of performative gestures that make use of the existing architecture of the gallery space

of Center A. Simple acts of manipulation will unsheath the something of something – and

the loonie may spike to 90 cents! Watch a tongue seek employment, experience a shift or a shit

differently, feel in tune with a wall or a lanky man crawl. Obvious questions will be pegged to be

questioned, beckoning high hands. For those afraid of the dark maybe it’s time to test your

wits, or not, or come on Friday or Saturday.


A blue collared yak will attempt to parallel park. Please be wary of its horns.


Best Wishes,

Enjoy the summer!

Friday, July 1, 2016 | 3pm

Elk Walk, Keely O’Brien with Popcorn Galaxies

at Centre A


Join us on July 1st, 3pm for the final Elk Walk of a series of weekly public puppet performances for Here I only worry about my feet, your feet, everyone’s feet at Centre A. There will be a picnic following the walk at the green space on the corner of Union St. and Gore Ave.

Elk Walk is a large-scale public puppet intervention featuring five puppets inspired by the fossilized skeletons of the extinct Irish Elk—the largest species of deer to ever live. Throughout the month, the puppets have wandered in and out of the gallery in weekly walks around the neighbourhood, culminating in a July 1, 3pm walk. With a volunteer cast of puppeteers, a mixture of Chinatown locals and local theatre performers and artists, the walks through Chinatown see the work interact with complex local histories and ongoing processes of urban change.

Saturday, July 2, 2016 | 7:30pm

Foot Note On A Few Things (day 30), Tongyu Zhao

at Centre A


Foot Note On A Few Things (day 30) happens on the 30th day of its month long participatory object accumulation from the neighborhood of Chinatown, Vancouver. You might wonder what will happen, the artist is also wondering the same as you. She hopes that this can turn into something chaotic but simple, personal but communicative. Through these known and unknown objects, with the travels that both you and the artist have made in order for this to happen, the artist expects to counter our collective language of understanding history and memory, but most importantly in awareness of where the feet stand: the very present moment as creation, knowledge and life happens. 30 notes acting as 30 blank scores will be performed throughout the evening. For each note the artist will create an intuitive active installation of play and display with the objects. As of now, the artist still has no idea of what’s there, what’s not there and what’s more to come.

Here I only worry about my feet, your feet, everybody’s feet, is taking place on traditional unceded Coast Salish land including the territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations.

Here I only worry about my feet, your feet, everybody’s feet is made possible through a curatorial mentorship co-op funded by BC Arts Council’s Early Career Development Grant.