Between 1881 – 1884, about 15,000 Chinese laborers from the southern Province of Guangdong were hired to build the most treacherous part of the Canadian Pacific Railway in British Columbia. Over 5,000 Chinese railway workers perished during the job.
Rocky Railway High (Closure) – an Interactive Art Project for the symbolic return of the Chinese railway workers to Guangdong, China, their homeland (an important Chinese custom at the time).
Trip – For a period of one month, David Cheung, a contemporary artist and his two sons who are descendants of a railway worker, will travel by train and by bicycle along the section of the railway constructed by the Chinese workers. They will research and gather information about the railway workers and their families for the project.
The trip will begin in Revelstoke and end at a cemetery where some Chinese railway workers were buried in Victoria, British Columbia.
Blog – During the trip, text journals, video clips and images of on-site artworks will be uploaded to a blog to update viewers about the journey.
Artworks – A series of multi-medias artwork (photographs, paintings, mixed medias installation, digital media & video) will be produced basing on information collected from the expedition and the history of Chinese railroad workers and the 1923 Exclusion Act and Head Tax.
A total of 5,000+ pieces of artwork and writing (representing the number of Chinese workers perished during construction of the railway) on post card size paper will be collected from the public.
Exhibition – Contributions received from the public and the artwork created by the artist will be shown in an exhibition in British Columbia.
Symbolic Ritual – After exhibition in Canada is completed, all artwork & writing contributed by the public will be shipped to Guangdong Province, China to be buried in a permanent site representing a symbolic return of the Chinese railway workers to their homeland.
Video – Video documentation will be compiled with the footage of the trip and the events.
Archives – All submissions by public will be archived and permanently displayed on an interactive website.
Documentation video of the project will be uploaded online for viewing & download.
Artwork produced by David Cheung from this project will be available for future exhibitions.