Artist Gwen Boyle Unveils SUAN PHAN: the jade abacus gateway sculpture
My new friend Gwen
Boyle is unveiling her latest art installation in Chinatown at the
intersection of Keefer Street and historic Shanghai Alley. I
visited the site, but her jade abacus is still covered up for the
Gwen tells me the following:
“My grandfather's beautiful wooden magical abacus was
the main concept behind Suan Phan As a public artwork Suan Pahn will
foster dialogue between strangers (this happened all afterenoon we were
working it was great fun).. about family … as with all first
generations – there are tales… especially when I drive around the
street with my mother with her memories.. somewhat fading but still
Along a short walk, I showed my girlfriend the Shanghai Alley attractions
featuring: Millenium Gate, designed by my architect cousin Joe Wai, the
Han Dynasty Bell, and the 8 panels depicting Chinese Canadian History
that my cousin Hayne Wai was involved with.
Below is a press release I wrote for Gwen.
October 29 Saturday 3 – 5 p.m.
Shanghai Alley, Vancouver Chinatown approximately
35 West Keefer St. between Carrall St. and Abbott St.
1/2 block West of the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden.
You are invited to the unveiling of a large jade abacus, an interactive public artwork in the form of a sculptured gate by artist Gwen Boyle. The work is entitled Suan Phan which frames a functioning abacus of carved jade beads.
purpose is to mark time past and the flow of life through historic
Shanghai Alley as Chinatown enters a period of urbanization. The
sculpture was commisioned by Pinnacle International with the City of
Vancouver, Public Art Program.
Boyle spent her childhood in Chinatown living with her mother and
grandfather who was a respected jeweller and goldsmith, Dong Jam Lung.
He formed traditional icons out of chinese gold and was one of only
three goldsmith working in that mode in North America during the
Gwen's 104 year
old mother, Mrs. Daisy Dong will perform the unveiling. She arrived in
Canada at age 6, in 1907. Meet the artists and her mother at the
reception following the unveiling.
Check out a CBC Radio interview of Gwen at:
Other Vancouver public art by Gwen Boyle includes:
Foot Notes (1994) Fifty-seven unpolished black granite tiles with words randomly into the sidewalk.describing False Creek Basin.
Time and the Riverrewinding earth's time tape (1998) in Lang Park, in Richmond BC.
New Currents An Ancient Stream (1994) – a cascading urban stream at the Southwest corner of Alberni and Bute St.
Here's a picture of author Joy Kogawa enjoying Gwen's installation work
New Currents An Ancient Stream which features the quote from Leonardo
da Vinci: “In rivers, the water you touch is the last of what has passed, and the first of that which comes; so with time present.”
For information contact: