York celebrates Asian Heritage Month

York University faculty, staff and graduate students feature prominently in Asian Heritage Month Festival events taking place across the GTA this month, including lectures, films, an exhibition and a dramatic presentation. 

"We are celebrating the diverse culture and achievements of Asians who play a vital role in the unique and multicultural mosaic of Canada," said Kay Li, president of  Asian Heritage Month – Canadian Foundation for Asian Culture (Central Ontario) Inc. and a research associate in the York Centre for Asian Research. "The focus is for Canadians to learn about the Asian Canadians in our society and the role they play in this wonderful country of ours."

York’s participation in the month-long celebration began with a lecture by York Professor Ted Goossen (left) on May 7. Speaking at the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto, Goossen delivered the museum’s annual Asian Heritage Month Lecture. A specialist on Japanese literature and culture, Goossen explored Western perceptions of Japan and Japanese culture from the 19th to the 21st centuries in his lecture titled, "From Haiku to Anime: Japan in Western Eyes".  The talk complemented the Bata Shoe Museum’s month-long exhibition of Japanese footwear. To view the exhibition, visit the Bata Shoe Museum at 325 Bloor Street West in downtown Toronto.

Artist Doris Ha-Lin Sung, York doctoral candidate in social & political thought, will co-curate Calligraphy-ism: An International Exhibition and Symposium, from May 11 to 16, at the Cedar Ridge Creative Centre in Scarborough, Ont. "This art exhibition and symposium creates an opportunity to engage the art community and the public in dialogues on the aesthetic and philosophical concepts in traditional and modern Chinese calligraphy," said Sung.

Artists and scholarly experts are featured in the symposium, while the exhibition shows traditional and modern calligraphy, conceptual calligraphic art, installations and performances by artists from Toronto, Hong Kong and mainland China. The exhibition will open with the symposium and a performance this Sunday, from 1 to 4pm.

On June 3, the York Centre for Asian Research will host the inaugural Asian Heritage Month Lecture at York University on the life of James Endicott, a Canadian missionary and public figure in China who was condemned in Canada for his progressive political activities during the Chinese civil war and the early years of the People’s Republic of China.

Right: A 1952 photograph of Canadian missionary James Endicott, with his granddaughter and wife 

Retired York Professor Stephen Endicott will speak on the life of his father in the talk, "When China Stood Up: The Experience of Dr. James Gareth Endicott." The event, which will be held in the Moot Court of York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, 6-8:30pm, will also feature the premiere of "Dragonfly: Scenes from a screenplay on Dr. James Endicott" written by York Professor Emeritus Robert Fothergill. Senator Vivienne Poy will chair the event. To reserve your seat, register at asianheritagecanadian@yahoo.ca.

York will also be the venue for the Asian Heritage Month Festival’s three-day Reel Asian Spring Showcase, co-hosted by the Asian Heritage Month-Canadian Foundation for Asian Culture (Central Ontario) Inc., Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival and York Centre for Asian Research, and organized by York Faculty of Fine Arts Professors Suzie Young and Wendy Wong, among others. The event, to be held on May 23 to 25, will feature renowned Asian films. Admission is free to the public.

A motion to recognize May as Asian Heritage Month was moved by Poy and approved by the Canadian Senate in 2001. Since then, Ottawa, Vancouver, Montreal, Winnipeg, Victoria, Toronto, Fredericton, Halifax and Calgary have celebrated Asian Heritage Month in their cities.

For more information on Asian Heritage Month events in the GTA, visit the Asian Heritage Month Web site.