Stats and Stories
Our grants making a difference

Hong Kong Exile

Program and component
Explore and Create, Concept to Realization

Vancouver, British Columbia

Field of practice

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A Grant Helps Vancouver Arts Company Explore Funerary Rituals and Diasporic Experiences 

A performer lies face-up onstage, illuminated by the headlamps of four other people.
was it the smell of solitude is Hong Kong Exile’s newest large-scale multimedia performance project, led by choreographer Natalie Tin Yin Gan and currently in pre-production. Photographer(s): Milton Lim

Lead artist Natalie Tin Yin Gan got to know her grandfather after his death thanks to rituals conducted by her overseas family. Her art stems from the nuances she observed.

Connecting with the Chinese diaspora through performance

The Hong Kong Exile Arts Association is based in Vancouver. It comprises three contemporary artists—Natalie Tin Yin  Gan, Milton Lim and Remy Siu—who are committed to creating innovative art through interdisciplinary investigation. Their newest production, was it the smell of solitude, will be a large-scale, multimedia performance project. Scheduled to premiere in Vancouver in 2021, the performance will share stories that reckon with the ever-shifting contradictions of the diasporic experience.

Illuminating the vivid spaces of ancestral honouring

Featuring 14 performers, fog, powder, and intricate light choreography, solitude will explore Chinese funerary and ancestral traditions in the era of globalization and consider how performances around the afterlife intersect with the diasporic experience and imagination today. The performance will push its collaborators’ boundaries: they are custom-building a lighting structure, creating work for a large ensemble, and unsettling the conventional casting process. The cast of 14 is a deliberate nod to the number’s association with death in Chinese language and superstition.


Tagged As Stats and Stories Inter-Arts Explore and Create Concept to Realization British Columbia