From January–March 2020, I’ve been in residence at the Textile Museum of Canada. Through research at the H.N. Pullar Library at the Museum, community consultations, and artist collaboration, I’ve developed an umbrella of programming that looks at legacies of colonialism both abroad from a diasporic perspective and locally, investigating the Museum’s own colonial histories.

Distant water will not quench a nearby fire
Artist project, with collaborators Amy Lam, Serena Lee, Morris Lum, Amy Wong, and Florence Yee
Exhibition at Textile Museum of Canada, March 13–April 12, 2020 (now until October 3rd, 2020) 

How do we navigate feelings of confusion, anxiety, and grief when confronting political violence in a distant motherland? Distant water will not quench a nearby fire is a new project that looks at diasporic experiences of Hong Kong’s colonial histories and ongoing political unrest.

In 1997, Hong Kong’s sovereignty was transferred from the United Kingdom back to the People’s Republic of China after over 150 years of colonial rule. Taking cue from a popular souvenir t-shirt commemorating the event, I have invited five artists to create bootlegs of the original design, to re-appropriate dominant narratives of sovereignty and diasporic cultural identity.

Souped Up: Collective Pot
Marsya Maharani & Geneviève Wallen
Friday January 31, 2020

Souped Up! is a thematic dinner series conceived as a way to carve space for care and support building among curators and cultural workers who identify as people of colour, Black, and Indigenous. We hope to deepen our commitment to work beyond scarcity mentality and towards new collaborative models; to mobilize, advocate for, and build up one another; to dismantle hegemonic ideas of power dynamics, leadership models, winning culture; and to learn together. 

Friends of Chinatown Toronto Fund
Artist project by Petrina Ng
March 2020

For the month of March, I have allocated part of my residency’s budget towards supporting community advocacy group, Friends of Chinatown Toronto (FOCT). Acknowledging the Museum’s implicit role in Old Dundas Chinatown’s gentrification, this is an experiment exploring how artists can facilitate a re-direction of institutional funds outward towards neighbourhood housing and anti-displacement advocacy. I’ve asked the Museum to consider continuing to support this project after my residency ends, to commit to relationship-building with local communities outside of the context of thematic exhibition programming.

Land Acknowledgment Workshop for Immigrants
Initiated by curator and writer Belinda Kwan
Saturday March 28, 2020 1–4pm

This collaborative writing workshop will bring together voices and languages from Indigenous, diasporic, immigrant, and refugee communities to learn about the complicated histories we sustain with the land upon which we live. Proposed as a methodology for complimenting conversations about Settler-Indigenous relationships, we will consider how immigrant communities both experience and proliferate environmental violence. 

Exhibition poster designed by Rachel WallaceDurable Good

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