Two Great Nations With More In Common Than You Might Think
Gone are the days when, for many Canadians, our flirtation with the Far East began and ended with tearing open packets of plum sauce, fumbling with chopsticks and sharing fortune-cookie prophecies at a restaurant featuring Chinese-Canadian food. Today, we travel to China and marvel at the inspiring architecture, experimental and forward-looking technology, and enormous social advancements – successes underpinned by drive, education, entrepreneurship, expertise and an expectation to excel.
Chinese understanding of Canada has also dramatically increased since the heroic achievements of Norman Bethune alongside Mao Zedong were instilled in generations of elementary school students. Trade, business opportunities and immigration have created wealth and powered growth in communities like Richmond, British Columbia and Markham, Ontario, where the lingua franca is more likely Mandarin or Cantonese dialect than English or French. With expanded air links, it is no longer unusual to see tourists from Beijing, Shanghai or the New Territories, exploring all corners of Canada.
Despite significant differences in population, geography, history and culture, comparing these two nations can be an unexpected and remarkable exercise in uncovering similarity of purpose and identity. This is what inspired me to create Convergences. The concept is to pair photographs that capture comparable, candid and unscripted moments of daily life half a world apart.
2020 marks the 50th anniversary of Canada's recognition of modern China. My aim is to hold an exhibition of 50 paired images to mark a half century of relations.
© 2019 Daniel Wiener