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  • Jul 06, 2020
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Janet Wang
Ports of Entry

AKA/PAVED Billboard space
Co-presented by AKA, Hamilton Artists Inc., and PAVED Arts

July through August 2020

Based on research of Chinese-Canadian settler histories, and visual storytelling, Wang has created a panoramic digital work, Ports of Entry. This panorama is comprised of numerous smaller vignettes, tied together with references to the promised land of Gold Mountain.[1] These narrative frames are based on waterways, rail, resources, art, and development.  Each frame is a pastiche of chinoiserie by Jean-Baptiste Pillement (French, Lyons 1728–1808), whose Rococo artwork was filled with fantastical flora and creatures, with projections of Orientalist narratives popularized with European consumers.  Ports of Entry illustrates sociopolitical narratives around the Chinese diaspora and the hyphenated identity of Chinese-Canadians. The hyphen is a tenuous site that immigrants occupy, a line that shifts and moves with the tide, a marker that is both a limit and an opening. This work looks at the speculative nature of migration; the patterns found in the histories of labour, movement and settling. These patterns are evidence of who has privilege, and who does not. Shorelines represent a limit that is constantly in flux, evolving and shifting in response to industry and development.   

[1] Early migration from China to British Columbia was centred around the Gold Rush – the workers referred to Canadian, American and Australian colonies as “Gum San,” or Gold Mountain. Ministry of International Trade. “Gold Mountain.” Province of British Columbia, Province of British Columbia, 24 Nov. 2016, www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/multiculturalism-anti-racism/chinese-legacybc/history/gold-mountain.

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Janet Wang is a visual artist working within a traditional painting practice, integrated with sculptural installation practices and digital media. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of British Columbia and her Master of Arts in Studio Practice from the University of Leeds in England. Her work explores the construction of identity through the appropriation and disruption of social patterns and familiar gestures. The artist borrows heavily from the canons and traditions of history, both the artistic and the quotidian, in order to use the familiar as a meeting point with the viewer. Her work has been exhibited internationally, and is represented through the Art Rental and Sales, operated by the Vancouver Art Gallery.  She has been awarded residencies from the Arts Council of England, ArtStarts, the Burnaby Arts Council, and received awards from the Vancouver Foundation and the BC Arts Council.


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