An exhibit that truly captures the continual impact of our Iconic Asian Canadian, Jim Wong-Chu.
VANCOUVER (BC) – The Vancouver Asian Heritage Month Society (“VAHMS”) has partnered with the Emily Carr University of Art + Design and the UBC Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections to organize an exhibition showcasing the legacy of Jim Wong-Chu.
Jim Wong -Chu (January 28, 1949 – July-11, 2017) was a well-known Asian-Canadian historian, editor, author, and poet. Born in Hong Kong, Jim Wong-Chu came to Canada in 1953. He attended the Vancouver School of Art (now Emily Carr University of Art + Design) from 1975 to 1981, majoring in photography and design. From 1976 to 1981, while working at the Vancouver School of Art, Jim Wong-Chu became involved with Vancouver Co-op Radio on the Pender Guy Radio Program, focusing on culture and integration.
Jim is considered one of the first Asian-Canadian authors to give voice to Asian communities in times when support for Asian arts was difficult to obtain. He dedicated much of his time to compiling a literary anthology called Many-Mouthed Birds that showcased the richness of Asian-Canadian literature.
During 1995 and 1996 Jim Wong-Chu cofounded the Asian Canadian Performing Arts Resource (“ACPAR”) and became one of the founders of the Asian Canadian Writers’ Workshop (“ACWW”), where he helped many young Asian-Canadian writers to succeed by editing and finding publishers for their works.
In 1996, Jim Wong-Chu also founded the Vancouver Asian Heritage Month Society, along with Mishtu Banerjee, Mo-Ling Chui, Grace Eiko Thomson, and Winston Xin. This organization explores the diversity of Asian-Canadian life and culture, promoting the discussion of relevant issues and concerns both within and beyond the Asian-Canadian communities.
Past President of the Vancouver Asian Heritage Month Society, Beverly Nann shared that she came to know Jim through a dance production called Cha. This was brought to her attention by her daughter, Andrea, one of four Asian-Canadian dancers involved in the creation and performance of Cha in Toronto.
“My background is in social work, not the field of dance, so I reached out to Jim for his assistance and that is where our collaboration and friendship began,” said Beverly. “Jim generously offered his support in bringing Cha to Vancouver as part of the Asian Heritage Month celebrations happening across Canada,” she added.
“After the successful performance, Jim informed me that he was ready to ‘throw in the towel’ in producing the Asian Heritage Month, as he was the last of the original five founders left to carry on. So I said to Jim, ‘this is too good of an idea to let it die, let me see what I can do to help you.’ From there, Jim and I embarked on the task of building a board of directors with myself as president and Jim as vice president in charge of Grants and Programming,” said Beverly. “This is how the Vancouver Asian Heritage Month Society, as a Society, was established,” she continued.
Ms. Nann concluded by saying, “Since then, VAHMS has based its mission on social advocacy and integration to support Pan-Asian and Asian-Canadian Arts, Cultures, and Communities. Jim Wong-Chu’s vision was fundamental to explorASIAN Festival’s success!”
Learn more about the exhibit here: https://explorasian.org/2019/09/13/jim-wong-chu-iconic-asian-canadian/
Learn more about the Vancouver Asian Heritage Month Society here: https://explorasian.org/about-us/media/
Written and Curated by Jennifer Dickieson, co-curated by Leticia Sanchez, VAHMS President.
Vancouver Asian Heritage Month Society: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Vancouver Asian Heritage Month Society’s vision is to build a community where Asian arts, cultures and contributions are lived, shared and celebrated as part of the harmonious diversity of Canada.