Considering the limits of social engagement within the frame of an artwork, Kah Bee Chow’s one day installation Golden Slumbers was sited opposite Number 10 Haining Street in Wellington. The work existed in the strange chasm between the area’s current facelessness and its rich, sensationalised, romantic (if painful) past.

Once regarded as the most notorious slum area in New Zealand, in 1905, Haining Street street bore witness to the shooting of Joe Kum Yung by Englishman Lionel Terry, as a protest against Chinese immigration into the country. Kah Bee Chow’s installation of a makeshift soup kitchen, decorated with Chinese lanterns and plants, was the location for the screening of a series of interviews with historians and people connected to the street. Joe’s biography has sadly been eclipsed by his murderer Terry’s folk-hero notoriety. By spatially and socially engaging with the memory and the disappearance of the things that really did exist, Chow created an antidote to Joe’s invisibility.

Commissioned as part of ‘One Day Sculpture’.

Sunday 31 August 2008, 09.00 – 21.00

Backyard of 10 Haining St, Central Wellington

Funders and Supporters

One Day Sculpture was funded by Creative New Zealand; Massy University College of Creative Arts; The Chartwell Collection; University of the West of England, Bristol and Massy University Foundation.

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