McLaughlin Gallery offsite exhibit profiles early Oshawa Chinese run businesses

The Robert McLaughlin Gallery is presenting an offsite exhibit entitled Shellie Zhang: The Ties that Bind, a photo installation running until July 15, at CORE 21 in downtown Oshawa.

In 1921, Oshawa had a population of approximately 13 000 people, of which 18 were listed in the census as being Chinese. There are no people of Asian descent, including Chinese, listed in any of the previous census records. This photo installation profiles the Boston Café, Ontario Laundry and the Globe Diner, three early downtown Chinese establishments that were not included in the Business and Professional Buyer’s Guide that year.

The exhibit pays tribute to local histories that have not been chronicled within the downtown core. What was the experience of owning a business in Oshawa for a Chinese family? What was it like to live as a Chinese-Canadian during Oshawa’s industrial boom? What forms of community were present for these Chinese-Canadians since they were so few in number?

Chinese knots are an old form of decor with connotations of luck associated. One of the many symbolisms behind endless knots is that they link ancestors with omnipresence. This installation pays tribute to the legacies created from these first communities to make this largely unseen history visible.

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