Cultural Centre Abruptly Scraps Chinese Calligraphic Art
have previously thought that the Chinese Cultural Centre in Vancouver,
was for all Chinese descendants in Vancouver. But I might be
I can remember witnessing the original models of the 3 finalist
architectural designs of the proposed Chinese Cultural Centre building, as my architect Joe Wai submitted his design with his
architect brother Wayne. I was there when the sod-turning
ceremony happened following a Chinese New Year parade in 1978. In
1986, We held the Saltwater City exhibition celebrating 100 years of
Chinese history in Vancouver, in the multipurpose Hall. In 2002,
the CCC Museum and Archives held a show titled Three Early Chinese Pioneer Families which featured the family of my great-great-grandfather Rev. Chan Yu Tan. My name is even featured in the exhibit “From Generation to Generation.”
This week it was announced that the Chinese Cultural Centre was
cancelling the planned Chinese Calligraphic show, even though it had
already been posted on the CCC website. The reason initially
cited, was because of a previous booking. The CCC has now stated
that the exhibition can go on, if Gabriel Yu can come up with insurance
to cover the exhibit.
“Kitty Ma (CCC Chair), told media that the reason for CCC declining BC Coalition's venue rental request is because the venue was pre-booked, ” wrote Gabriel Yui to me in an e-mail. “Likewise, Kitty provided new
excuses for cancelling my show. She told media that if I could bear the
insurance and have it purchase by tomorrow, they could put it in
tomorrow's committee meeting. No one from the CCC contacted me about
this, I left a message to Ma and she haven't got back to me. Besides,
how can I buy insurance when the show is cancelled and no time given for appraisal?”
The CCC has also denied the BC Coalition of BC Head Tax Payers,
Spouses, and Their Descendants, from renting a room for public meeting,
citing that the issue is “too sensitive.” This may because the
CCC Board has close ties to the National Congree of Chinese Canadians,
whose efforts to create the ACE program was undermined by wide spread
protest from Chinese Canadian Redress groups across Canada, including
the BC Coalition, of which Gabriel Yiu is a committee member.
Release – 10.3.2006
Cultural Centre Abruptly Scraps Chinese Calligraphic Art
The Chinese Cultural Centre at Chinatown has suddenly decided to cancel a planned Asian Heritage Month exhibition “The Art of the Brush – Contemporary Calligraphy by Chinese Masters (in Gabriel Yiu's Collection).”
Regarded by Professor Johnson Su-Sing Chow as an important event in the Chinese cultural community, “The Art of the Brush – Contemporary Calligraphy by Chinese Masters” is to be the Chinese Cultural Centre's participating event in the Asian Heritage Month (Professor Chow is the founding chair of the Chinese Canadian Artists' Federation and an advisor to the Chinese Cultural Centre). The exhibition was suddenly cancelled less than a month before its opening. Gabriel Uiu who lends his collection to the show, is totally shocked and disappointed by the abrupt decision.
“This is a much anticipated event in the Chinese community and much of the preparation work has been completed. The reasons provided by the Chinese Cultural Centre are astonishing: it said the collection is too valuable for the cultural institution and the exhibition never got approved by the board. Ye the show has already been listed on
their website for some time,” said Yiu.
Since the calligraphy does not touch on politics or social taboo, Yiu does not see it
as political censorship. Yiu
surmises that it could be due to his strong opposition to the previous federal
Liberal government’s head tax settlement, which got the support of many Chinese
community organizations, including the Chinese Cultural Centre, as well as his
earlier challenge of the legitimacy of the Chinese Cultural Centre’s signing a
declaration in support of the Liberal government's no apology and no
compensation agreement. The Centre did not consult their board or members before
signing the support declaration.
those are the real reasons, this is an abuse of public trust and unethical
practice on the part of a public institution. The community should take note of such
an unreasonable decision by an organization that claims to promote Chinese
culture,” said Yiu.
said he sees the exhibition as his contribution to society and he is helping the
Chinese Cultural Centre to promote Chinese art. Rather than charging a fee to
defray expenses incurred by him in mounting the show, he was printing a
promotional leaflet and house program, as well as coordinating a talk and
demonstration for the show. “In
view of the high attendance of my last show, the Chinese Cultural Centre would
lose considerable admission revenue in the cancellation. It is also a cultural loss to the
public,” said Yiu.
November 2003, the CCM Centre in Burnaby presented “Exhibition of 20th Century Chinese Painting Masters – In
the Collection of Gabriel Yiu” for one month. The exhibition attracted an
attendance of over 5,500 people.
Gabriel Yiu 604-889-0696
Chinese Cultural Centre 4/4 press release to Asian Heritage Month
Exhibition introduction by Prof. Chow Su-sing
Email correspondences with CCC staff on 3/4/2006
The Art of the Brush – Contemporary
by Chinese Masters on display at C.C.C.
Following the successful exhibition of 20th Century Chinese Painting
Masters in 2003, Vancouver
connoisseur Gabriel Yiu will once again present his valuable collection of
contemporary Chinese calligraphy for public enjoyment. Billed as The Art of the Brush – Contemporary
Calligraphy by Chinese Masters, the current exhibition will be held at the
On-Tak Cheung Exhibition Hall, Chinese
Museum from 6 May to 4 June, 2006. The exhibition will be
one of the Centre’s contribution to the celebrations of the May Asian Heritage
Focusing on the contemporary development, the Chinese masters presented
include Wu Changshuo, Qi Baishi, Pu Ru, Zhang Daqian, Chen Bending, Yang
Shanshen, Shi Lu, Hong Yi, Yu Yaoren, Kang Youwei, Lin Zexu, Lao She, Guo Moruo,
Qi Gong, Zhang Xiaohe, Wu Hufan, Jiang Jieshi, Fei Xiaowo, Zhang Ruitu, Jin
Nong, Zhao Zhiqian, Huang Tingjian , Chen Fengzi, Chow Su-Sing, Szeto Wah, Lau
Wai Yin and Chang Chun Chieh. Over 40 works will be shown and they cover a wide
spectrum of couplets, large horizontal scrolls, letters and rubbings from
The exhibition offers a rare opportunity to study and appreciate the
development of the art of Chinese calligraphy. While most of the works are from
contemporary masters, there are also Song, Ming and Qing Dynasties
I have known Gabriel Yiu quite early from his news comments on the radio.
I frequently tune on to it. I also read his special columns on the newspapers.
But I did not know that he is also a connoisseur until he came to my house with
his collection of art for consultation.
These years now, he visited me quite often to my “Ample Cottage” where we
discussed our interest in the arts. While he has an extensive troves of
treasures, I am more than happy to find his genuine interest in the Chinese
Two years ago, his 20th
Century Chinese Painting Masters exhibition was regarded as one of the
important attractions in the city. Of equal significance will no doubt be the
current exhibition of The Art of the
Brush – Contemporary Calligraphy by Chinese Masters, presented by the
Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Vancouver.
I was fortunate to see the art works which Gabriel brought in for
consultation. Over 40 pieces of work from famed and treasured calligraphy
masters will be shown. It is indeed a rare opportunity.
This exhibition will undoubtedly contribute to further enhancement of the
art and cultural development in
Vancouver. Viewing the works of
different individual styles and expressions from different periods of time will
gain us a deeper understanding of history.
Chinese calligraphy is an exquisite tradition. Appreciation of its art
will help refine our character and intellectual spirit, while practicing it has
the effect of improving our health, like the conducive exercise of qi gong.
Special thanks should be given to Paul Yeung for organizing this
exhibition and to Gabriel Yiu for his generosity and enthusiasm for sharing his
valuable collection with us.
Johnson Su-Sing Chow