Acclaimed author Wayson Choy will deliver this year’s Asian Heritage Month Lecture at York next Tuesday.
In his lecture, “Asian Identity: Becoming Canadian”, Choy will review his personal insights into life as an in-between citizen, living as a hyphenated Chinese-Canadian for most of his life. Choy – born in Canada in 1939 – will explore how he feels now that he has "become a Canadian." No more hyphens. He will expose the prejudices and racism that still prevent many people from feeling that they belong in Canada as full-fledged citizens. The irony is that these prejudices and racist attitudes are found from both inside and outside one’s ethnicity and colour, Choy says.
The event, which will be held May 25, from 7 to 9:30pm in the McLean Performance Studio, 244 Accolade East Building, Keele campus, will be chaired by Vivienne Poy, Canadian senator and patron of Asian Heritage Month in Canada.
Right: Wayson Choy. Photo by Raymond Lum.
Choy, a member of the Order of Canada, has appeared as a subject in Wayson Choy: Unfolding the Butterfly, a full-length documentary film by Michael Glassbourg, and is featured on the co-produced China-Canada documentary Searching for Confucius. His latest book is Not Yet: A Memoir of Living and Almost Dying (Doubleday Canada, 2009) and he is currently working on his third novel and fifth book. His other publications include All That Matters (Anchor Canada, 2005), Paper Shadows: A Chinatown Childhood (Penguin Canada, 1999) and The Jade Peony (Douglas & McIntyre, 1995), which was called one of the 100 most important books in Canadian history by the Literary Review of Canada. His work has been translated into Hungarian, French, German and Dutch.
He is a professor emeritus of Humber College, where he is currently a faculty member for the Humber School for Writers Summer Program. In 2002, he was made companion of Frontier College in recognition of his outstanding services for furthering literacy awareness.
The discussant for the Asian Heritage Month Lecture will be English Professor Arun Mukherjee from York’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies.
The lecture will be paired with a performance of OrienTik/Portrait, which features the intricate and mesmerizing choreography of former York student Alvin Erasga Tolentino and fellow dancer and York grad Andrea Nann (BFA Spec. Hons. ’88). The pair will be joined by taiko drummer Jordy Riley and classical pianist Alison Nishihara.
Their performance will explore an Asian identity that is diverse in culture, creating a bridge between the identities of Canadians and the rest of the world. In OrientiTik/Portrait, sound and movements integrate and weave together in an enriching layer of moments in time. It highlights the experience, mediums and high artistry of each artist. Their aim is to capture the resonance and transparency with the meeting of two performing mediums.
The event is presented by the York Centre for Asian Research (YCAR) as a part of the 2010 Asian Heritage Month Festival with support from the following groups: York University, the Office of the Vice-President Academic & Provost, the Faculty of Fine Arts, the Graduate Program in Dance, the Asian Heritage Month Canadian Foundation for Asian Culture (Central Ontario) Inc. (partially funded by the Government of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage), the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies and community partner the Bata Shoe Museum.