Morris Lum. Lao Tsu Mural, 2013. Image courtesy of the artist

Tong Yan Gaai

August 19 - August 19, 2018

Morris Lum

Curated by Patrick Macaulay

> Images

January 21 – June 18, 2017

Over the last five years I’ve been searching for the clusters of Chinatown communities that have been built across Canada for the purpose of settlement and growth. My aim is to focus and direct attention towards the functionality of the Chinatown and to explore the generational context of how “Chinese” identity is expressed in these structural enclaves. Armed with a large format camera, I’ve documented the Chinatowns in Victoria, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Halifax. I have often traveled back and forth to these Chinatowns to record the rapid architectural, and economic changes that these communities have been facing. These images are visual records of the cityscapes in which I highlight historical and contemporary cultural fixtures such as small mom and pop shops, Chinese restaurants, and community organizations.

Vancouver’s Chinatown, the largest in Canada, is the subject of this exhibition. It is a community experiencing constant, fast-paced development – where long-standing small businesses have recently closed and, in many cases, have been taken over by condo developers and trendy westernized businesses. Tong Yan Gaai (Cantonese: Chinatown) provides a glimpse into the progress and struggle of these communities to preserve their heritage.

– Morris Lum

Part of the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival


Morris Lum is a Mississauga-based artist whose work explores the hybrid nature of the Chinese-Canadian community through photography, installation and documentary practices. Lum continues to work on his cross-Canada project that looks specifically at the transformation of the Chinatown. He has exhibited internationally and in 2013 and 2015 was the recipient of the Canada Council for the Arts project grant for visual artists and Ontario Arts Council grant for emerging visual artists. He currently teaches at the University of Toronto in John H. Daniel faculty of Architecture of Landscape and Design.

The artist acknowledges the support of the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts.


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