The Chinese community displayed a hospitable and loyal attitude towards the British Empire despite the state-enforced discrimination that it imposed on them. In this composition, Karen Tam recalls the street arch built by the Chinese residents of Vancouver to welcome the Duke and Duchess of Connaught during their visit in 1912. The Duke was then serving as the Governor General of Canada and made several trips to British Columbia to attend public events. To discourage Chinese people from moving to Canada, in 1885 the federal government instituted a head tax for each immigrant that rose to five hundred dollars in 1903. This policy was replaced by the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1923, which largely banned Chinese immigration until the act was abolished in 1947.
Karen Tam, Chinese Arch on Pender St. (Vancouver), 1912, 2020
Pencil on photocopy paper, 21.59 x 27.94 cm, Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Hugues Charbonneau, Montreal. Photo credit: Karen Tam.