About once a month we organize a tenant social as we to try and help our tenants get a chance to meet one another and explore what the Chinatown community has to offer. This time, our neighbors at the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Gardens were kind enough to bring us on an afternoon tour of the beautiful Chinese gardens. Our guide Tommy taught us about pen-jing 盆景 - the Chinese art of miniature living landscapes that make up the garden, showed us the naturally porous rock formations that allow the imagination to see shapes of dragons and George Washington, and let us know that there was a 50 year old koi fish in the ponds named Madonna. The light rain provided for a very scenic stroll.
Moreover, we were informed that the garden hosted an array of cool events, from block printing workshops to the Jasmine Jazz Concert, the chance to experience something new is always just around the corner. Fellow tenant Paul Wong currently also has a year long residency with the Sun Yat Sen, creating a series of discreet works and interdisciplinary artworks based on 700 letters in Chinese sent by 90 writers to his mother Suk-Fong Wong. We recommend everyone go check it out if you haven't already.
Tommy emphasized that beyond cultural exchange, it was very important that space within the garden was offered to the community as a place to meet and discuss the issues that continue to change and mold Vancouver's Chinatown neighborhood.
We ended our afternoon eating our brown bagged lunches and getting to know each other's art practices a little better afoot the Chinatown Memorial Square. The light drizzle had stopped at this point. Thank you to our tenants for taking time out of your busy days to come out and enjoy the gardens with us. Thank you to Tommy our tour guide, but also Debbie - the garden's marketing coordinator and Vincent - their executive director for such a informative and fun tour.