限华 / Chinese Only
Paul Wong, 2018
Neon sculpture, 48″ x 26″ x 4”
Glass, plexiglass, electronics, metal
In simplified Chinese Characters, 限华 / Chinese Only is a new neon artwork series in Chinese characters. Each neon piece is unique, it is available in pink, red, white and yellow neon with white graphics on black box. Each work is CSA approved with on/off switch, dimmer and signed on the back.
限 translates to “limit”, and 华 translates to Chinese. 限华 / Chinese Only takes the form of a ‘sign’ where it references a time when local white-only establishments blatantly refused and restricted Chinese people. The sign, however, can also be interpreted as “Chinese Exclusion” as, the characters 限 and 华 are often used to describe the country’s historical exclusion of Chinese people.
The Chinese Exclusion Act, (the Act) was a 1923 act passed by the Parliament of Canada, banning most forms of Chinese immigration to Canada. Immigration from most countries was controlled or restricted in some way, but only the Chinese were so completely prohibited from immigrating. The act was repealed in 1947.
Chinese Only is part of a series of new works being created and inspired by Wong’s relocating his studio in early 2018 into the heart of historic Chinatown in Vancouver. A Chinatown that is undergoing rapid gentrification by non-Chinese businesses and dwellers in an area that had been almost exclusively occupied by people and things Chinese.
This work was part of Occupying Chinatown, Paul Wong’s year long residency at the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Chinese Classical Garden. To see the rest of the works curated for this visit: