The Museum of Vancouver, University of British Columbia, and the Chinese Canadian Museum Society of BC are pleased to present the opening of A Seat at the Table, a multi-sited and collaborative exhibition project that explores historical and contemporary stories of Chinese Canadians in BC and their struggles for belonging.
Using food and restaurant culture as entry point, the project highlights stories that reveal the great diversity of immigrant experiences and of the communities immigrants develop. It also addresses themes of belonging, racism, agency, resilience and reparation as important facets of the complex picture of Chinese migrants and their descendants in the province.
This exhibition explores historical and contemporary stories of Chinese Canadians in BC and their struggles for belonging. It looks to food and restaurant culture as an entry point to feature stories that reveal the great diversity of immigrant experience and of the communities immigrants develop.
A Seat at the Table is an opportunity to consider the contributions that Chinese migrants and their descendants have made to British Columbia, a province built from the interaction of successive and concurrent waves of migration and uninterrupted occupation by Indigenous peoples.
Restaurants and food offer compelling portals to understanding the Chinese Canadian experience in British Columbia. A close look at the food industry reveals the impact of racial discrimination on Chinese Canadians, but it also tells us much about their ability to resist, organize, seek justice and thrive.
Located in the heart of Chinatown, on the first floor of the Hon Hsing building, this first installment of A Seat at the Table offers a unique encounter with personal stories of Chinese Canadians. These snapshots from people’s lives show how Chinese migrants and their descendants have found ways to earn a living, challenge systemic racism, connect with others, survive and thrive through hope and resilience.
A Seat at the Table: Chinese Immigration and British Columbia is the inaugural project of the newly established Chinese Canadian Museum Society of BC. This temporary exhibition was co-curated by the Museum of Vancouver and University of British Columbia, and supported by the Province of British Columbia and City of Vancouver. Its curatorial features are presented in trilingual English, Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese.
The innovative and unique quality of this living exhibition is that it continues to grow with every visitor. Visitors can choose to share their stories on camera, through in-person interviews, in writing, or simply by placing a marker on a map. These narratives will contribute to the complex and continuing story of Chinese Canadians in British Columbia. As the exhibition travels throughout the province, it will continue to gather and highlight stories from each location around the province.