M’goi/Do Jeh: Sites, Rites and Gratitude @ Centre A

An Art & Community Initiative
with projects by Lydia Kwa,
Kathryn Gwun-Yeen Lennon,
and a special window display directed by Mrs. Chang

April 24th – June 14th, 2014
Centre A
Gallery Hours: Tues-Sat, 11am-6pm
Opening Reception: Thursday, April 24, 2014, 7pm

The recent, ongoing transformation of Vancouver’s Chinatown has been happening at a very rapid pace. A series of new condo towers are under construction and a list of new businesses are opening up. Not to mention the growing presence of the visual arts including artist studio space, artist run centres, commercial galleries and your friendly neighbourhood public gallery: Centre A. How are we to consider this process? How does the incoming community relate to and have relationship with the long established community of the neighbourhood? In some instances new comers embrace the old, retaining legacy signage or seeking other means to place a volume dial of their cultural expression. Others open up with distinct, sharply branded aesthetics that make no nod to the existing neighbourhood’s past or present.

In a capitalist society where the right to enter one space or another is dependent on little more than one’s ability to pay rent, are there rites of passage/entry, gestures and postures that should be adopted to pay respect? As a commercial rent payer and a public art institution recently moved to Chinatown, Centre A is interested, on both institutional and personal levels, in ways one takes on a posture of gratitude and respect especially in instances where the act of being given to isn’t so direct and the right to receive isn’t necessarily one’s own.

A reflection on the two distinct ways to say “thank you” in Cantonese m’goi and do jeh, this exhibition considers rites of passage and gratitude in the contexts of urban transformation in Vancouver’s Chinatown, and, the psycho-social processing of inheritance, loss and change. In so being, M’goi/Do Jeh: Sites, Rites and Gratitude’s participants, community engaged poets Lydia Kwa and Kathryn Gwun-Yeen Lennon as well as neighbourhood elder Mrs. Chang, help Centre A in its quest to discover its place in the geographic and cultural space it recently moved into.

We hope you’ll join us.

Press release

Community Memory Map
Facilitated by Kathryn Gwun-Yeen Lennon
Contribute your stories and photos of the neighbourhood.

Game of Couplets, a participatory poetry game by Lydia Kwa
Daily with a special event on May 31 at 3pm

Saturday School 週末學校 10am-12pm, Saturdays, from April 26 – June 7 (PDF)

@ the Living Language Studio
Centre A, A 中心
229 E. Georgia Street, Chinatown, Salt Water City 活學活用語言坊

鹹水阜,唐人街,229 E. 佐治東街
Curated by Kathryn Gwun-Yeen Lennon 姚君妍, with language instruction by Zoe Lam 林慧雯.

Learn Chinatown survival Cantonese and get oriented to the neighbourhood! The streets, shops and spaces of Chinatown will be our classroom and its people will be our textbooks. Classes will include: basic Cantonese greetings, numbers, getting around, how to order food in a restaurant and grocery shopping. We will do short field trips around the neighbourhood and hear stories about Chinatown history, community organizing, and historic and current relationships with the diverse cultural communities who share the space. Our final exam will be a grocery shopping expedition and collaboratively created meal.

7 classes: $40 for Centre A members, $60 for non-members, $9 drop-in. Considerations can be made for low-income participants.

齊齊來學習唐人街廣東話,街名,店名以至唐人街不同的溜達點都是教室,該區的大眾就 是我們的課本,課程包括:用基本廣東話打招呼、數字、找地方、點菜和購物。我們將安 排數次教室外學習和聆聽唐人街(鹹水阜)的歷史,瞭解社區組織,與多元文化團體過去 和現在的關係。期終考試將會是在超市購買食物和小組設計一頓飯活動中舉行。

The Living Language Studio.
For the duration of the exhibition, this space will serve as a pop-up resource centre, inviting visitors to participate in and imagine how a community space shared by groups engaged with cultural knowledge and community development might function. If you’d like to meet or work in the space, email kathrynlennon [at] gmail.com.

Youth Community Film Screening (PDF)
Curated by Kathryn Gwun-Yeen Lennon
May 10 at 3pm
Free admission

Poetry Reading by Lydia Kwa and Kathryn Gwun-Yeen Lennon
May 17 at 3pm
Free admission

For more details:
Ricepaper Magazine

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