4. Snapshots of History

Artist: Shu Ren (Arthur) Cheng
Year: 2010
Location: 490 Columbia
Dimensions: H. 10 feet L. 30 feet
Best Viewed: Northwest corner Pender & Columbia

Snapshots of History is a visual time machine. One panel depicts the Goon family. Hung Get Goon, dreamt of becoming a lawyer, but was never able to go to law school due to discrimination. Instead, his father became the city editor of the Chinese Times while his mother, Ruth, ran a fish shop in Chinatown. The other two panels of the mural feature a reproduction of a 1905 photo of a silk merchant in Chinatown and a rendering of a 1936 photo of men sitting outside a barber shop at Carrall and Pender. The mural is significant because it embodies the indefatigable spirit of the Chinese to persevere no matter where they are in the world, hoping the hard work sewn by one generation will be reaped by the next. At the inauguration Goon’s son commented ”I think it’s an excellent, excellent idea. It’s in memory of our ancestors and how they came out here and how hard it was for them to begin life here in Canada. There was so much discrimination. It was really hard for them to get by — but they survived, they survived.”

Partners: Vancouver Chinatown Merchant’s Association, Vancouver Freemason’s

Links: Chinatown comes to life.