November 2018 - “Yum Cha!” and “A Family Meal” - City of Calgary - 17 AVE BRT Bus Shelter Artwork
Location: 17 Avenue - 33rd Street SE MAX Purple Bus Station, Calgary AB
I am a 3rd generation Calgary born Chinese Canadian. The Greater Forest Lawn community and 17th/International Ave. is an important part of my history because it is the area where my mother first lived when she immigrated to Canada in 1967 at the age of 12. With little knowledge of Canadian culture or language, she moved to Calgary with her family of five into a small apartment in Forest Lawn. I remember my mom telling me stories of trying new foods with her sisters (cheese they hated but cherries they loved) and experiencing her first Canadian snowfall (freezing on her way to Ernest Morrow Jr. High School for class). Her older brother, who had immigrated to Canada before her, owned a little grocery store called ‘Mayfair Foods’ on 17th Ave. and she would help him out at the store after school. There was a small community of Chinese in the area and this gave the family a sense of belonging, which helped them through their initial struggles of living in an unfamiliar environment. Although she eventually moved to another community in Calgary, my mother continues to regularly drive to 17th/International Ave. to go shopping. She always tells me that it is the best place in the city for international grocery shopping and restaurants.
The theme for all of the 17 AVE SE MAX bus shelter artwork is “International Food” and I chose to share a very important aspect of Chinese culture – sharing a dim sum meal with friends and family. In “A Family Meal”, I have painted a picture of my siblings eating a meal together. This painting shows many food-based customs such as eating with chopsticks, holding your rice bowl in hand and the respect shown by pouring tea for others. “Yum Cha!”, shows a top down view of my favorite dim sum dishes including: sui maai (pork dumplings), ha gaau (shrimp dumplings) and siu luhng baau (meat broth dumplings). Throughout my childhood, my parents would take us out to yum cha (to drink tea and eat dim sum) every weekend with my grandparents. I am happy to have continued this tradition with my own children!
Materials: Original acrylic paintings on canvas each measured 24x30”. Each painting was professionally photographed and then enlarged and reproduced onto the glass bus shelter.
August 2018 - “Play!” - City of Calgary - Marlborough Utility Box Mentorship Program
Location: 12 Avenue - 36 Street, SE, Calgary AB
During several community engagement events, Marlborough residents were asked what “home” meant to them. Common themes centered on diversity, friends, neighbors and familiar faces. For this utility box, I chose to paint children playing outdoors. When I watch my own children playing, I see these moments where they have no worries and are able to experience pure happiness. “Play!” illustrates activities that can be enjoyed by all children, regardless of their background. Each child is of a different nationality to depict the ethnic diversity in Marlborough.
Materials: Acrylic paint on a H 60”x W 30” x D 18” metal utility box.