5. Edmonton Pavilion

Ociciwan x Evan Matchett-Wong

Ociciwan Contemporary Arts Centre is partnering with Chinatown Biennial and artists Evan Matchette-Wong and AJA Louden to create a mural on a vacant wall in kamâmak nihtâwikihcikan. Being mindful of public arts relationship to gentrification and gatekeeping for BIPOC communities, this mural follows a mentorship exchange between Evan as a mentee and lead artist, and AJA as a mentor. In Addition to the mural itself, we’re creating a transparent, process-based toolkit that outlines the steps the artists took in creating this mural, and a resource share specific to this project so that other BIPOC artists curious about public art can access these steps with fewer barriers. Neighbors are welcome to drop-in and hangout with the artists as they work, so the process can remain open to the folks we share this neighborhood with. The mural is an invitation to gather in our temporary garden space, share stories and histories, and to care for one another.

kamâmak nihtâwikihcikan is an Indigenous art garden planted and cared for by Ociciwan in collaboration with Finding Flowers, and with help from our neighbors and communities in amiskwacîwâskahikan and Chinatown. The garden explores and expands on the late Mi'kmaq artist Mike MacDonald's work. Like his Butterfly and Medicine gardens, the community garden is meant as an invitation to hangout, to center reflection, and to interact with and care for plants and people in the neighborhood the gardens have found a home in. The garden we built is named kamâmak nihtâwikihcikan, and it's open 24/7 for the community. Programming in this space prioritizes centring BIPOC folks, and recognizes the roots and stories that our communities have in Chinatown and on Indigenous land, specific to amiskwacîwâskahikan.

家禧,你在家 / Kendrick, you're home

Statement from the artist:
“Chinatown is the people, the people, the people” - Sid Tan, Whose Chinatown? Conference April 10, 2021.

Growing up, my family would travel annually to San Francisco to visit my 嫲嫲 / Ma Ma (paternal grandmother) and extended family. I treasured this time because hanging out with 嫲嫲 opened more ways for connecting to my Cantonese roots through food, speaking Seiyap (dialect), and cultural traditions. My dad loved taking photos and I have this adorable one of my mom, little bro, and I in front of Oakland’s Chinatown Gate. This photo holds many family memories and demonstrates the power of the image and cultural sites to pass on intergenerational knowledge.

家禧,你在家 / Kendrick, you're home explores being a new father and how I will carry on the tradition of using photo and video to capture and share family memories. As our Chinatown decays, remembering it now feels urgent and I want 家禧 to be able to connect with this cultural space to understand me better, how it has nurtured my sense of belonging, and that he will have his own rights and responsibilities to shape his home and future.