Rethinking Canada 150: Networks and Nodes in Asian Canadian Visual Culture

April 12-13, 2017

Courtesy of the artist. Jin-me Yoon, video still, Other Hauntings: A Geography Beloved (Dance), 2016. Single channel video.

Rethinking Canada 150: Networks and Nodes in Asian Canadian Visual Culture rethinks Canada’s 150th anniversary, taking into account the limitations of Canada 150 as a commemorative framework. We will examine artistic and curatorial practices that address issues of historical representation, memory, and the aesthetics and politics of diaspora, situating studies of Asian Canadian visual cultural simultaneously in response to national and transnational networks. In Ottawa, we are ideally positioned within the nation’s capital in order to engage critically with the ethics of upcoming national celebrations. Challenging normative discourses, our discussions will build from previous meetings in New York and Montreal where we examined the connections, solidarities, and bonds of kinship between historically oppressed populations. Mindful of these intersections, we will focus on linkages and parallels with other diasporic histories (both in Canada and beyond). Our discussions will underscore the role that museums, community organizations, and the general public play in determining the terms of diversity and pluralism in Canada and across borders. Focusing on the co-production of knowledge through workshop discussions, research exchange, and networking activities, we aim to mobilize the participation of Canadian scholars in national discussions and networks on global Asian diasporas, increasing international exposure of Canadian scholarship and opportunities for research collaborations across disciplines in the humanities.

This conference is organized as part of the Canada 150: Asian Canadians in Visual Culture project, which marks Canada’s 150th anniversary by signaling 2017 as a key moment to address the representation of Asian Canadians in visual culture. A partnership between Concordia University, Carleton University, New York University, and the University of British Columbia, Canada 150: Asian Canadians in Visual Culture is a SSHRC-funded collaborative research project initiated by Alice Ming Wai Jim (Concordia), Ming Tiampo (Carleton), Christopher Lee (UBC), and Alexandra Chang (NYU). The project brings together researchers, cultural practitioners and community organizers through a series of workshops, conference meetings, and public lectures in New York, Montreal, and Ottawa.

This conference is also generously supported by the Institute for Comparative Studies in Literature, Art and Culture (ISCLAC), the Centre for Transnational Cultural Analysis (CTCA), the School for Studies in Art and Culture, the Korean Cultural Centre, the Canada Council for the Arts (Art Bank), and the National Gallery of Canada. Special thanks to all of our conference and workshop participants, note takers, graduate student committee, and volunteers.

Schedule of Events

Wednesday April 12, 2017
Korean Cultural Centre (150 Elgin Street, Unit 101)

1:00pm-1:20pm: Introduction & Welcome

1:30pm-2:45pm: ARTIST TALKS/Q&A: Visualizing States of Citizenship: Immigrant Archives and Migratory Journeys

  • Jinny Yu (University of Ottawa), Don’t They Ever Stop Migrating?
  • Jacqueline Hoàng Nguyễn (Stockholm/Montreal), The Other Camera
  • Sarindar Dhaliwal (Toronto), the cartographer’s mistake

2:45pm-3:00pm: Coffee break

3:00pm-4:15pm: PANEL/Q&A: Exhibiting and Defining Asian Canadian Art

  • Joni Low (Independent Curator), Public and Virtual Space: Networks and Rhizomes in Laiwan’s Fountain: the source or origin of anything
  • Monia Abdallah (UQÀM), What is Contemporary Islamic Art? Here and There
  • Godfre Leung (St. Cloud State University), Lee Kit’s Henry (have you ever been this low?): A Multi-Sited Exhibition in a Single Site

4:15pm-4:30pm: Coffee break

4:30pm-6:00pm: PLENARY DISCUSSION: Situating Global Asias
Moderated by Victoria Nolte (Carleton University) and EJ McGillis (Carleton University)

Thursday April 13, 2017
Canada Art Bank (921 St Laurent Blvd)*

10:00am-11:00am: Tour of the Canada Art Bank’s collection of works by indigenous and racially diverse artists

11:00am-1:00pm: WORKSHOP: Networks and Nodes in Asian Canadian Visual Culture
Moderated by Ming Tiampo (Carleton University)
5-10 minute research presentations/interventions by workshop participants, followed by discussion.

Presentations by:

  • Pansee Atta (Carleton University)
  • Andrea Fitzpatrick (University of Ottawa)
  • Monika Kin Gagnon (Concordia University)
  • Andrew Gayed (York University)
  • Malini Guha (Carleton University)
  • Laura Kwak (University of Toronto)
  • Nahed Mansour (South Asian Visual Arts Centre)
  • Emily Putnam (Carleton University)
  • Jonathan Shaughnessy (National Gallery of Canada)
  • Alisi Telengut (Montreal-based artist)
  • Tianmo Zhang (Concordia University)

*RSVP is required to join the tour and workshop at the Canada Art Bank. Please email Victoria Nolte ( for more information or to reserve your spot.

National Gallery of Canada (380 Sussex Dr.)

5:00pm-6:00pm: Meet & Greet

6:00pm-8:00pm: KEYNOTE LECTURE, presented by Carleton University, The Centre for Transnational Cultural Analysis, and the National Gallery of Canada.

Postcards from the Long View: Nationalism, Transnationalism and Relationalism
Jin-me Yoon (Simon Fraser University)

I would like to use this occasion to speculate upon significant shifts in my thinking and making in the past 25 years within larger discursive changes. My postcard project entitled Souvenirs of the Self, produced at the site of Canada’s first national park in Banff, Alberta in 1991, provides the main departure point to consider nationalism in the context of tourism. Then briefly pointing to past work, the movement between nationalism and transnationalism, displacement and emplacement, the local and the global, self and other, the representational and the abstract, the human subject and the natural world will be explored in a speculative manner. I conclude the presentation with a recent postcard project in progress at another Canadian national park, Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, to bookend my consideration of these questions. With Asian-Canadian diasporic subjects in mind – in relation to the Pacific Ocean – I propose the possibility of considering The Long View (working title for postcards) as a way of cultivating extended notions of time as well as the possibility of holding here and there simultaneously, all within nature rather than separate from the non-human world. My main preoccupation throughout is: how do we generate spaces for exchange creating possibilities of transformative alternative futures now so that dependency on recognition – and hence validation by dominant oppressive socio-symbolic forces – do not define the very terms of our aesthetic and political engagement?

Since the early 1990s Jin-me Yoon’s lens based practice in photography, video, and installation has reexamined questions concerning place, identity and the body supported by an underlying interest in how these very questions are based on entangled and interdependent relations and histories. In staging performative actions for the camera, she often employs her body as a sign of difference and more recently, evidence of an embodied corporeality. Landscapes, particular sites and cities, people, objects and materials provide a departure point for broader issues and geopolitical particularities to be identified. Born in Seoul, Korea Yoon immigrated to Vancouver Canada in 1968 where she lives and works. She is Professor of Visual Art at the School for the Contemporary Arts, Simon Fraser University. Her work has been exhibited widely within Canada as well as internationally.