Empty Spaces that Fill My Heart
By Chad Wong
Curated by Richmond Art Gallery in partnership with Richmond Public Art
Empty Spaces that Fill My Heart is a photographic diptych connecting Richmond and Vancouver’s Chinatowns. Artist Chad Wong presents abstracted fragments of the awnings and hallways of the Hong Kong style cafes and Chinese-Canadian malls he grew up visiting. Wong’s images contemplate how various modes of representation in architecture and shared cultural spaces shape the narrative and identity of a community.
Wong is a first generation Canadian whose family immigrated to Richmond from Hong Kong. Since the 90s there has been a steady stream of Chinese newcomers to the Lower Mainland, initially from Hong Kong and now more predominantly from Mainland China. This body of work explores the fading signs and symbols of Hong Kongese/Cantonese Chinese-Canadian cultural urban scapes of both Richmond and Vancouver. The uniqueness of these malls and restaurants which have been a visible icon in the Lower Mainland exists in their blend of Eastern and Western influences. As these spaces now slowly disappear the artist views them as a last vestige of his connection to Hong Kong. He felt an urgency to document and preserve these Chinese-Canadian sites that are on the precipice of gentrification as demographics shift. Sited at Aberdeen station, this location is a titular space for Chinese-Canadian businesses and cultural manifestation.
Presented in partnership with Capture Photography Festival and the Canada Line Public Art Program – InTransitBC