Howie Tsui

The Unfortunates of d'Arcy Island

2013
Howie Tsui is interested in how traditional forms of image-making can be used to document and represent the contemporary Chinese-Canadian experience, as well as the way history, horror and the grotesque function in the present day. Here, Tsui has rendered the little-known history of D’Arcy Island – a government-run 19th-century Chinese-Canadian leper colony located off the coast of Victoria, British Columbia – in a style that recalls Asian scroll paintings. However, the artist rejects the ancient art form’s customary portrayal of figures of privilege in favour of the downtrodden, exploited and mistreated. In this way, Tsui exorcises the allegorical ghosts of this traumatic past.
Artist
Title
The Unfortunates of d'Arcy Island
Date
2013
Medium
Painting
Materials
Chinese paint pigments and gold calligraphy ink on mulberry paper, mounted on to board
Dimensions
91.5 x 244 x 4.2 cm
Nationality
Canadian
Credit line
Purchased 2014
Accession number
46237.1-4