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Upstairs at Wah Lee's: Portraits from C.S. Wing Studio

Nanaimo Art Gallery
Nanaimo BC – Nov 20-Dec 19, 2009

C.S. Wing, Untitled

C.S. Wing, Untitled (c. 1910), plate glass negative [Nanaimo Art Gallery, Nanaimo BC, Nov 20-Dec 19]

C.S. Wing, Untitled

C.S. Wing, Untitled (c. 1910), plate glass negative [Nanaimo Art Gallery, Nanaimo BC, Nov 20-Dec 19]

C.S. Wing, Untitled

C.S. Wing, Untitled (c. 1910), plate glass negative [Nanaimo Art Gallery, Nanaimo BC, Nov 20-Dec 19]

Curated by Faith Moosang, Upstairs at Wah Lee's is a travelling exhibition from British Columbia's Quesnel Museum. It offers a rare look at early local residents of the small BC community and showcases the fine portrait work of Chow Shong Wing. Although many of the negatives have degraded over time, the flakiness of the pictures and the peeling emulsions are described as providing “a heightened sense of nostalgia or romanticism.”

C.S. Wing was the first professional photographer in the small frontier town of Quesnel at the turn of the last century. From 1907 to approximately 1920, he documented the local residents - Chinese, First Nations and Caucasian – from his studio above the Wah Lee Store.

The images in this exhibition were selected from a larger glass plate negative collection housed in the Quesnel and District Museum and Archives. They are considered to be fairly representative of both Wing's photographic style and the people who posed for him. There was a significant presence of Chinese and First Nations populations in the frontier town and they appear to have adopted Caucasian styles of dress and appearance.

Quesnel became a boomtown in the late 1800s with the discovery of gold in the area. It was the service centre for gold prospectors stocking up with supplies before heading east for such “gold towns” as William's Creek and Barkerville during the Great Cariboo Gold Rush. Because of its location on the Fraser River, Quesnel was also an important landing for sternwheelers from 1909 until 1921.

www.nanaimoartgallery.com

Mia Johnson













C.S. Wing, Untitled

C.S. Wing, Untitled (c. 1910), plate glass negative [Nanaimo Art Gallery, Nanaimo BC, Nov 20-Dec 19]


 Sun, Dec 13, 2009