How to be a Chinese Ally: Online talk with Annie Wong and Chen Chen

Varley Art Gallery of Markham
Lunch and Learn: How to be a Chinese Ally presented by Annie Wong and Chen Chen

September 16, 1 PM to 2 PM ET virtually on Zoom
Tickets are available through Eventbrite.

How to be a Chinese Ally is a reimagining of Annie Wong’s Community Artist in Residency and the role of the artist during the pandemic and critical time during the Black Lives Matter movement. In this Lunch and Learn session, Wong, based in Tkaronto, in collaboration with Chen Chen, an academic with a focus on the intersections of race and sports based on Treaty 6 territory, will share their experience and anti-racism work in the Chinese community. They will also delve into their research in the creation of How to be a Chinese Ally, a resource that recognizes the significant lack of anti-racism educational material in the Chinese language.

Lunch and Learns are monthly artist talks that provide our community members with the opportunity to learn about current and future exhibitions, as well as hear about ongoing curatorial research happening at the gallery. This program also supports emerging and established artists by providing them with a forum in which to present their work.

We would like to thank the Varley-McKay Art Foundation of Markham which funds our Lunch and Learn speaker’s series.

About the presenters


Annie Wong is a writer and multidisciplinary artist working in performance and installation. Conceptually diverse, her practice explores the intersections between the political and poetic in everyday life. Her current research focuses on the ways in which affective knowledge, particularly intergenerational feminist anger, the melancholy of ancestral amnesia, and hauntologies of diasporic displacement, are embodied in these muddied intersections. Wong’s practice is heavily collaborative and often engages diasporic communities to produce a collective form of carework as the basis for artistic production, allyship building, and spiritualism. Wong has presented across North America including at the Toronto Biennale of Art, Studio XX and SBC Gallery (Montreal, QC), Third Space Gallery (Saint John, NB), and has been awarded residencies with the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Power Plant (Toronto, ON), The Khyber Centre for the Arts (Halifax, NS), Banff Centre for Creativity and Art (Banff, AL), and is currently the 2020 Community Artist in Residence at the Varley Art Gallery. Her literary works in poetry, art writing, and non-fiction can be found in Koffler.Digital, The Shanghai Literary Review, C Magazine, Canadian Art, and MICE Magazine.


Chen Chen 陈晨 (Ph.D.), is a grateful visitor to amiskwaciwâskahikan (also known today as Edmonton, Canada) on Treaty 6 Territory. He is a postdoctoral fellow at the Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation, University of Alberta. An educator and researcher, his current work addresses the intersection of sport with colonialism, migration/displacement, and environmental justice. He is particularly interested in how non-Western epistemologies (theories of knowledge) and worldviews can mobilize sport and movement spaces to be more just and equitable, and facilitate more meaningful community-building towards decolonization and abolition.

About the Varley Art Gallery of Markham, our Community Artist in Residence (CAIR) program and the Varley-McKay Art Foundation of Markham

The Varley Art Gallery of Markham is a vital cultural hub for artists and diverse communities. A municipal gallery, we create critical conversations about Canadian art and society. We inspire local and national audiences to engage with art through outstanding exhibitions and rich public and educational programs relevant to the communities we serve. We support artists from York region and seek to broaden access to the arts for diverse artists and cultural groups. We also share and celebrate the life and work of F.H. Varley, a founding member of the Group of Seven.

The Varley Art Gallery is situated on the traditional territories of Indigenous Peoples including the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe. We are committed to reconciliation, partnership and enhanced understanding.

CAIR is a year-long program inviting professional artists with socially engaged practices to bring artistic programming beyond the gallery walls. During her time with the gallery, Annie Wong continues her community-based, collective practice of feminist care work based on embodied knowledge, with a particular focus on the Chinese diaspora.

The Varley-McKay Art Foundation of Markham supports the Varley Art Gallery as a vibrant cultural hub in the GTA. Our mandate is to support the Gallery’s strong visual arts program through our activities and investments. We provide funding to assist with art acquisitions, the conservation of the Gallery’s art collection, educational programming and exhibition research. We also administer the Varley Art Gallery’s volunteer program, providing additional support for their activities and events.

Varley Art Gallery of Markham
216 Main Street Unionville, Markham, ON L3R 2H1
905.4777.7000 ext. 3261
@VarleyArtGallery | |

The Varley Art Gallery of Markham welcomes you back! Starting Saturday, September 19, we are open to the public for gallery visits only. In order to follow social distancing guidelines, our reopening hours of operation are limited this fall. Please review them prior to making your visit as the safety of our visitors and staff is our top priority.

Visits Wednesday to Friday are by appointment from 12 PM to 4 PM only and must be booked in advance by emailing 48h hours’ notice is required. The gallery will be open Saturday and Sunday from 12:00 PM to 4 PM. Admission is FREE but visitors are required to book a timed visit through Eventbrite.

The Varley Art Gallery of Markham is an accessible venue.