The banner A good reputation endures forever 流芳百世, 2021, references one of the four epitaphs engraved on headstones for members of the Chinese Labour Corps who died during the First World War and were buried in France and Belgium. The Chinese Labour Corps 中國勞工旅 was established by the British government in 1916 to address its shortage of workers due to heavy casualties. By 1917, the first of almost 100,000 Chinese men to serve with the British Army in France were sailing to Europe after first crossing the Pacific Ocean and then Canada by rail. An estimated 10,000 died due to shelling, landmines, poor treatment, or the Spanish flu epidemic. With this work, Karen Tam reminds us that little is known of many of these men today.
Karen Tam, A good reputation endures forever 流芳百世, 2021
Embroidery on satin, 119.4 x 46.4 cm, Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Hugues Charbonneau, Montreal. Photo credit: Campbell River Art Gallery.