Paul Wong, 2020
Mixed media installation
93 jars of herbs & medicines in vitrine with descriptions
12 min. video projected with sound
2 photographs in light boxes 4′ x 6′
Museum of Vancouver
Nov 19, 2020 – Jan 2022
Mother’s Cupboard was previously presented in three variations, Transit Shelter Series (2018-2019), Private/Public/Lives, (New Delhi, India, 2019) and as part of the exhibition 淑芳你好嘛 (Suk-Fong Nay Ho Mah) / Suk-Fong, How Are You? (2019). In 2020, Mother’s Cupboard was part of A Seat at the Table, Chinese Immigration and British Columbia at the Museum of Vancouver. A Seat at the Table explored 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. The exhibition 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.
The 2020 iteration of Mother’s Cupboard features 83 jars from Suk-Fong’s cupboards. Viewers were able to appreciate Suk-Fong’s meticulous organization, labelling, and categorization of her herbs and elixirs contained in recycled western -brand jars, ie. Nabob Coffee, Classico, Miracle Whip, and Taster’s Choice jars. The exhibition also included the Mother’s CupboardVideo (2020). Recorded in 2012 in her kitchen, Suk-Fong takes her son through her collection of Chinese medicines, herbs, and ingredients. She speaks in her first language, Toisanese, and describes what her homemade compounds are used for. This includes “loik doy dew,” a deer-antler, alcohol-based elixir that she adds to soups. Most of her ingredients can be readily found in Chinese herbal stores.
A Seat at the Table – Official Exhibition Catalogue
Published in conjuction with a multi-sited exhibition titled
A Seat at the Table: Chinese Immigration in British Columbia
Co-produced: Museum of Vancouver & University of British Columbia
In partnership with the Chinese Canadian Museum
12″ x 9″ x 0.5″, 167 Pages
Curators & Editors: Denise Fong, Viviane Gosselin, Henry Yu
Printer: Friesens Corporation
Published in 2021
This engaging and thought-provoking publication offers a rich record of the themes, stories, images and objects presented in the multi-sited, multilingual, award winning exhibition A Seat at the Table: Chinese Immigration and British Columbia.
These exhibitions, co-produced by the Museum of Vancouver (MOV) and the University of British Columbia in partnership with the Chinese Canadian Museum, opened at the Hon Hsing Athletic Association building in Vancouver Chinatown in August of 2020 and at the Museum of Vancouver in November 2020.
The interplay between the two created a rich, engaging and multidimensional picture of Chinese immigration into British Columbia.
A Seat at the Table, Chinese Immigration and British Columbia exhibition at The Museum of Vancouver has been extended until January 2023.