This depiction is based on video surveillance of an assault on a ninety-two-year-old Asian man with dementia at a convenience store in East Vancouver in March 2020. The image shows the elderly figure lying on the ground while the much larger perpetrator aggressively stands over his body. Part of Karen Tam’s Ruinscape Drawings series, with this work the artist documents recent incidents of anti-Asian violence; as well, she processes her own anger and fear. In doing so, Tam reveals how the current prevalence of anti-Asian attacks is part of an extensive history of violence and discrimination that began with the arrival of the earliest Chinese immigrants to the West Coast in the nineteenth century.
Karen Tam, Vancouver, March 30, 2020 Attack, 2020, from the Ruinscape Drawings series
Pencil on Strathmore, 30.48 x 22.86 cm, Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Hugues Charbonneau, Montreal. Photo credit: Karen Tam.