Chinatown Rebirth


Urban renaissance combines modern sensibility with Asian heritage, in a balancing act that whispers ‘everything is going to be alright’

sent to me from NoEgosAllowed

Taken from

(the sun originally i believe) On a Friday night in early May a private party is being held beside a rooftop sculpture garden in the Wing Sang building, the oldest in Chinatown, and now the home of condo marketing wizard Bob Rennie’s new contemporary art gallery and his business operations.

To the 1889 building on Pender Street where Chinese immigrant businessman Yip Sang once lived with his four wives and 23 children, Rennie has invited close friends, art collectors, curators and a few media types, in honour of Richard Jackson, the Los Angeles artist whose conceptual work he has purchased extensively and is exhibiting.

After the party has wound down, Rennie Collection director Wendy Chang gives a mini-tour of the new exhibit. A wander through the gallery leaves the mind boggling at what Yip Sang, who made his fortune as a labour contractor for the CPR, would have made of some of the art now in his former home. There are bears with urinal heads and urinals with bear heads, for example; products of an imagination so wonderfully twisted, it’s as if the visiting neo-Dadaist Jackson absorbed some lingering fumes from the opium produced out back in Market Alley in the late 1800s.

The bizarre bears can be seen as symbolic of the new economic and cultural values giving Chinatown a fashionable buzz after more than two decades of decline.

Chang, a first generation Chinese-Canadian, accompanied her parents as a young girl when they went shopping in Chinatown in the years after they moved here from Taiwan in 1977.

“Growing up Chinese in Vancouver, Chinatown used to be where your parents went,” said Chang.

But in the following decades, Chang spent little time in Chinatown, preferring to get her “Chinese fix” in Richmond or other suburbs.

“But now Chinatown is cool, it’s hip, it’s fun. You don’t go to Chinatown now because it’s the only place to get Chinese goods.

full story here


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