Chinaman’s Peak: Walking the Mountain
Paul Wong, 1992
installation, 1 monitor, photographs, texts, various objects, mixed media
also available as a single channel video, 25 min., colour, stereo
The images seem to suggest a traditional Chinese funeral ceremony associated with ancestor worship, though Wong has remarked they do not represent any particular ritual. The work deals with death, remembrance, and history, and was conceived as a memorial to the Chinese workers who died building the Canadian railway through the Rocky Mountains. It is also dedicated to the artist’s father, Hoy Ming Wong, and to two friends and collaborators who committed suicide, Ken Fletcher (1954-1978) and Paul Speed (1967-1991). Wong created the work while artist-in-residence at the Banff Centre for the Arts in Alberta. Chinaman’s Peak is the name of a mountain near Banff where, according to legend, a Chinese worker killed himself. The work was first performed at Tunnel Mountain, Banff in 1992, before being exhibited as an installation at the Contemporary Art Gallery in Vancouver, for the Chinese New Year, in 1993.
This work has been widely exhibited as an installation in variable dimensions and screened internationally at festivals as a single channel video. The installation was featured in Wong’s solo exhibition “On Becoming a Man”, National Gallery of Canada, 1995.
Collections: National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa).
Distributor: Vtape, Video Out