Chinese Pictures

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Oil and rabbitskin glue on linen, 48″ x 96″

Chinese Pictures, 1987, is a series of drawings and paintings based on the Chinese character for my family name. It is an act of reclaiming a cultural heritage that, while I was growing up in Vancouver in the 1970s, was at odds with how “Canadian” was defined by the dominant white culture. However, as I am illiterate in Chinese and untrained in calligraphy, I asked my friend Gu Xiong, an artist from China now living in Vancouver, to paint the ideogram for “Tsang” (or “Zheng” if using the Pinyin system of romanisation). I then appropriated his rendition of my name in a variety of Chinese and western traditional artistic mediums that show my attempts to mimic, analyze, iconicize and claim an image and name that had been alienated from my early immigrant experience.

Text by Gu Xiong on Chinese Pictures
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Ink on graph vellum, 36″ x 72″

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Gouache and fabric dye on watercolour paper, 36″ x 72″

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Ink on rice paper, mounted on silk scroll

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Graphite on paper, 12 sheets, A4 size