Gayle Chong Kwan

Preserved (2018)

Di-Bond Photographic Prints
Various sizes

We All Have Stories

Curated by Karen Alexander
Nuit Blanche 2018
City of Toronto

Miniature photographs of lost buildings of early immigrant neighbourhoods are preserved in salt and then enlarged into large-scale stage set-design proportions. The work links early immigrant neighbourhoods around the world, the role of salt in material preservation, and in early photographic processes, and the contemporary use of ex-salt mines as repositories of valuable artefacts and historical national documents, notably the DeepStore facility in the ex-working salt mine in Winsford, England, the parent company of which, Compass Minerals, also runs Goderich Salt Mine, the largest operating underground salt mine in the world, sited on the edge of Lake Heron, Ontario. The work is installed in the underground car park space under City Hall square, in the Ward district which was the location for early immigrant neighbourhoods in Toronto.

Early immigrant neighbourhoods featured:

The Ward, Toronto
Chinatown, Nagasaki
Little Havana, Miami
Little Italy, New York
Limehouse, London
Greektown, Melbourne
Liberdade, Sao Paolo

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The legacies of immigrants are crucial to the character of our cities, but many of the earliest immigrant neighbourhood around the world are now on the verge of being lost and forgotten.

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