Myseum Connects: Documenting Diverse Histories – Part 6

Myseum Connects:  Documenting Diverse Histories – Part 6


I’ve been working on a project called
the Dragon Center Stories Commemoration Project And so what we did was, we
actually honored a shopping mall in Scarborough, it just so happens to be
actually the first Chinese Canadian shopping mall, and actually in the first
Chinese shopping mall in all of North America. And so we were did a
commemoration ceremony where we collected stories and history, and so one
of the things that I’m connecting to there, is this idea of like the first-generation immigrants and when they come over, and like this is their
everyday and so like they don’t think of it as history, right? Nobody thinks of it as history until someone points it out to them and and one of the
experiences that we had was that it was actually a lot more second generations
who were coming out and saying ‘hey mom, and dad, you got to come to this’ or ‘mom
and dad those old photos are interesting’ or like, ‘did you know this mall was
history?’ Those sorts of things are coming through like, do any of you see parallels
around that in your work? Desmond, go ahead.. Can I say something? So, I completely agree with you. I think. So my parents are immigrants and they see.. I have to be careful
because they’re sitting right there. My parents are immigrants and they like
what I think about when I think about your project and those kinds of.. that
kind of work is that our communities are in motion, but we don’t.. that motion
is often completely invisible to us and so somehow, I don’t know, close
my eyes and I open them and I can’t go down one block and not see like a
Chinese eatery or like a real Chinese eatery, not like a Manchu Wok,
right like that like somehow that change but I remember when we were growing up
it like we had to drive so far to get any semblance of Chinese food, and we
were there so often that I could probably sketch out the map of the mall,
like I could probably draw you a mall directory even though they tore down the
mall that I went to as a kid, and I think that like this kind of work
is especially important for us as first-generation
people because our parents saw these spaces in these places as strictly
utilitarian. The mall that I went to is called Market Village it used to be a
barn, and then they like built a bunch of Chinese things into the barn but when you looked on it outside it was
like a Tudor-style barn and it was absurd but that doesn’t exist anymore and that
absurdity that paradox will be something that’s forever ingrained in me, but this
is not something that I can point to anymore. Whenever, if I have children or
like whoever the successors to my story are and I think about that a lot in
terms of caring like and why, why it’s important that if first-generation
person understand that because I don’t think that like someone who’s just
trained in archival practice would necessarily understand the context
behind that.

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