金山夢 Gold Mountain Dreams (Flag), 2021, is an embroidered and sequin-decorated flag whose title references the name, Gold Mountain, that early Chinese immigrants ascribed to North America. The discovery of gold in the Lower Fraser Valley in British Columbia in 1857 attracted tens of thousands of miners from China and around the world. Karen Tam’s work evokes their overseas journeys by taking inspiration from the naval imperial ensign of the Qing dynasty (1644–1912), which similarly features a lively dragon within a triangular composition. Her use of colourful satin and sequins was inspired by Cantonese Opera stage dressings―Chinese immigrants brought this popular form of entertainment to Victoria in the late nineteenth century.
Karen Tam, 金山夢 Gold Mountain Dreams (Flag), 2021
Embroidery, sequins, satin, denim, 81.28 x 88.9 cm, Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Hugues Charbonneau, Montreal. Photo credit: Jean-Michael Seminaro.