PUBLIC ART INSTALLATION BY ARTIST ANNIE WONG 2022
About the project
A park without a name is a pop-up public art exhibit by artist Annie Wong, on display Oct. 25-28, 2022 in the park at 115 4 Ave. S.W.
The contemporary artwork is a series of seven banners that feature quotes in English and Traditional Chinese. These quotes were heard by the artist while in conversation with members of the Chinatown community.
The art encourages Calgarians to reflect and engage in thoughtful conversations on historical racism against Chinese people in Calgary. The banners invite us to consider whose voices and history are valued when we name places and spaces.
When pursuing racial justice, we need to give people a safe space to tell their stories and listen without judgment. This exhibit gives voice to Chinese people and shows that racism and discrimination remain present in our society.
A park without a name makes transparent how a racist past continues to be felt in the physical, psychological, and social landscape of contemporary Calgary. With one exception, the phrases on the banners are excerpted from conversations and interviews with community members who were part of renaming the park, formerly known as James Short Park.
Each phrase comes from a place of personal reflections about the city-led renaming process, historical truths, and the power of names. The voices represented by the banners speak courageously against the erasure of Chinatown’s history in a collective volume evocative of community power.
A park without a name also includes an essay by 馬鳳齡 Fung Ling Feimo, titled, Reflections on Exclusion and Other Things in the Dark. The essay presents a Chinese context for understanding the history of James Short’s racist actions against the community. The essay was commissioned in response to the first draft of the official historical document about James Short that was published by the City of Calgary as part of the park’s renaming process. As Feimo points out in the essay, the document was insufficient and insensitive to the Chinese community. A final version of the document has since been published.
A park without a name continues the conversation sparked by Feimo’s essay and reflects on how historical wounds are felt intergenerationally.