UVic News – University of Victoria
This month is an opportunity for the University of Victoria to showcase the stories, research, contributions and vital impact of people of Asian descent on campus, in our communities and beyond. We celebrate Asian cultures within the vibrant and diverse communities of Canadian society as we collectively forge our path to a brighter and more inclusive future.
Four exhibits, a video, new research, as well as books and resources, are just some of the many examples of what will be highlighted this month. Stay tuned to UVic’s social media channels for more.
Internment paintings echo generations
A new exhibition Isshoni: Henry Shimizu’s Paintings of New Denver Internmentis now open at the UVic Downtown Free Public Art Gallery.
Presenting a collection of oil paintings, isshoni provides deep insight into the intergenerational trauma of the forced uprooting and internment of Japanese Canadians during the Second World War. The artist who produced these evocative pieces is also the recipient of an honorary degree from UVic. Dr. Henry Shimizu, who had a long and distinguished career in medicine in Alberta, produced the collection 20 years ago to capture his memories of being held in the Slocan Valley Internment Camp in the 1940s. Dr Shimizu now lives in Victoria.
isshoni until June 18 at Legacy Downtown.
Linking health, sleep and psychosocial well-being
Christine Ou, an assistant professor in UVic’s School of Nursing, studies maternal mental health and postpartum health.
Ou began her career as a pediatric registered nurse and, after joining UVic in 2021, continues to support children and families with a research program focused on sleep and the psychosocial well-being of families with infants and children.
She recently co-wrote a piece for The Conversation Canada on how prolonged sleep disruption puts new mothers at higher risk for developing mood disorders such as postpartum depression and anxiety.
Ou’s analysis was perfectly timed for Mother’s Day on May 8.
Diaspora, landscapes and visual vocabularies
Although Rick Leong’s large-format landscape paintings are often quintessentially Canadian in their subject matter, they are influenced by classical Chinese imagery and forms that help define the artist’s bilingual visual vocabulary. This imaginative visual style not only allows the visual arts teacher to negotiate their shared heritage, but also enables Leong to engage critically with the history of Canadian landscape painting.
Born and raised on the coast of British Columbia, Leong believes that our relationship with nature and the landscape truly informs our sense of personal identity and our feelings of place. his recent work, The desired path— the subject of his first US solo exhibition in New York in 2021 — explored our symbiotic relationship with nature as seen in man-made structures.
Himself a graduate in visual arts from the University of Victoria, Leong’s works can be found in numerous collections, including the Canada Council Art Bank, the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.
Chinese science fiction, soft power and feminism
Can English translations of Chinese science fiction open the field of possibilities for representations of gender and women’s sexual identities? Humanities scholar Angie Chau, who teaches Chinese literature and film in UVic’s Department of Oceanic and Asian Studies, asks this question in her next article to be presented in June at an international conferencewith a version to appear in the next Routledge Handbook of Chinese Gender and Sexuality.
Chau draws on recent #metoo discussions in the global context and uses analysis of several translated short stories to reveal how themes of sexual desire, storytelling and memory promote the image of a progressive and equitable China based on fantasies of femininity and technology as signs of the individual and collective agency.
Chau adds, “Promoting this image of China has the potential to allow the country to repair global public perceptions of gender roles in its contemporary society.”
Psychology professor shines spotlight on anti-Asian racism
Based on research published this year, psychologist Nigel Mantou Lou sheds light on a frightening aspect of COVID-19. In the new study– led by Mantou Lou in collaboration with University of Alberta psychologist Kimberly Noels and other researchers, including the Angus Reid Institute – it is clear that hate crimes targeting Asian Canadians have increased in hundreds of times compared to what they were before the start of the pandemic.
Lou, who joined UVic’s psychology department in 2021, points to the dual pandemic experienced by many Chinese Canadians who worry about continued discrimination in a post-COVID world. He also reflects on his own experiences in a recent UVic research column.
Eyes Open, a new video
Christopher Tse, a UVic alumnus (Masters of Social Work) and current lecturer at UVic’s School of Social Work, wrote and commented on a video about anti-Asian racism.
Learn more about this video
The powerful video was a collaborative project with the Chinese Canadian National Council for Social Justice, which is a national organization that educates, engages and advocates for equity and justice for all in Canada.
Inspiring healthier BC families through digital health
Sam Liu directs Generation Healtha free, 10-week interactive program that incorporates mental health activities, builds resilience and self-confidence, and helps families across BC make positive behavior changes such as healthy eating, physical activity increased physical well-being, improved mental well-being, as well as less screen time and more sleep.
Liu, a professor in UVic’s School of Exercise, Physical Education and Health Sciences, says her Asian heritage has helped her approach to research. “Just being a minority has helped me dictate and visualize the research I do,” Sam said. “In terms of research programming and design, making sure it’s diverse from this view, as well as taking considerations when we do the data analysis to make sure we have a representative sample within our group.”
Learning from the legacies of racism
This season marks the 80th anniversary of the forced displacement, internment and dispossession of more than 22,000 Japanese Canadians from coastal British Columbia in the 1940s.
Landscapes of injustice, launched in 2014, is one of the largest humanities research projects in Canada and explores the dispossession of Japanese Canadians eight decades ago. This public history project shares the stories of multigenerational trauma as a direct result of a sustained campaign launched by the Canadian government during World War II. Housed at the Center for Asia-Pacific Initiatives at UVic, the project is governed by a committee of representatives from partner institutions, including Sherri Kajiwara, Director of the Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Center, and is overseen by Project Manager Michael Abe and Project Director Jordan Stanger-Ross of the UVic History Department.
Library guides and a digital exhibition
Overview of the history of Chinese immigration to Canada is a digital exhibition of selected articles, video interviews, historical photos and documents from The New Republic and The World JournalVancouver, published in Victoria and Vancouver respectively. Both of these journals are valuable resources for researchers and have been transcribed and translated into English to reach a wider audience.
Art and book collections
Now open in the ground floor lobby of the Mearns – McPherson Library, UVic Libraries is proud to present From Tradition to Transformation: Visualizing Home in the Art and Book Collections of Asian Canadians, an exhibition of original works of art from the Victoria Chinese Painting and Calligraphy Association. Founded in 2020, the association is a group of artists and enthusiasts sharing, promoting and learning the art of Chinese painting and calligraphy.
Additionally, a curated selection of art books featuring Asian artists is available on the “New Books” shelf – curated by Pacific and Asian Studies Librarian Ying Liu and Fine Art Librarian Tad Suzuki – along with an additional display of UVic’s special collections in the case features display in the ground floor lobby.
Every year in May, Asian Heritage Month is celebrated in Canada. This is a time to reflect and celebrate the contributions of Asian Canadians.