Credit: Jag Nagra
The Burnaby Village Museum has unveiled an exciting new exhibit that aims to shed light on the experiences of South Asian individuals living in Burnaby. Titled “Truths Not Often Told: Being South Asian in Burnaby,” come celebrate and explore this significant addition to Burnaby’s cultural landscape.
WHERE IS IT?
This amazing exhibition will take place at Burnaby Village Museum. It’s easily reached by car – please note that there is limited free parking available. Buses also stop right outside — you can plan your visit via the TransLink website.
Burnaby Village Museum’s Summer Season is a fantastic outlet to jumpstart your summer with entertainment and activities in the area. The exhibition “Truths Not Often Told: Being South Asian in Burnaby” will be the first element of this 4-month-long Burnaby Village Museum’s program until September 4. The exhibit evolved from a multi-year research project to record and present the diverse experiences of Burnaby’s South Asian Canadian communities and features recorded poetry and plays, family photographs, cultural belongings, and commissioned art by renowned South Asian visual artist, Jag Nagra.
Datt Family Photo: Leela Datta and M. R. Datta with their six children in Nairobi, 1965. The family moved from Nairobi to England, later settling in Burnaby. Leela was born and raised in Kenya, a descendant of indentured workers who managed to build a successful life for themselves. Image courtesy of Shushma Datt and Sadhna Datta.
Many South Asian Canadians in Burnaby found work in the Kapoor Sawmill (pictured here) and other Burnaby sawmills. In 1939, Kapoor Singh Siddoo purchased the Eastern section of the former Barnet Mill. Siddoo initially named it Modern Sawmills because he purchased the property using his white lawyer’s name due to restrictions on selling the property to non-whites. He later renamed it Kapoor Sawmill. Image courtesy of the Siddoo Family.
WHAT TO EXPECT?
“The South Asian community’s history in Burnaby is long but not often known today”, said Jane Lemke, the museum’s curator, who co-curated the exhibit with SFU visiting faculty member, Dr. Anushay Malik.
“This exhibit highlights what makes this community unique but also emphasizes the difficult nature of uncovering racialized histories”, added Lemke.
The exhibit evolved from a multi-year research project to record and present the diverse experiences of Burnaby’s South Asian Canadian communities and features recorded poetry and plays, family photographs, cultural belongings, and commissioned art by renowned South Asian visual artist, Jag Nagra. Truths Not Often Told was produced in close consultation with the Museum’s South Asian Advisory Committee.
Besides the exhibition, Burnaby Village Museum’s Summer Season 2023 also features many things for everyone to do. You can explore live demonstrations including seeing and smelling coffee beans ground by hand at the Burnaby Lake General Store. Come and try to play mahjong- a Chinese game of strategy, skill, and summation at the Way Sang Yuen Wat Kee herbalist shop. If you are keen on history and how they lived in the past, watch the blacksmith heat and hammer metal objects in Wagner’s Blacksmith Shop, visit a replica Japanese Ofuro (bathhouse), built in 1977 to commemorate the arrival of Burnaby’s first Japanese immigrant in 1877, or take a ride on the restored 1912 C.W. Parker Carousel. Summer would not be summer without some sun, a picnic lunch in the meadow is a must!
Burnaby Village Museum Summer Season
May 6 to September 4
11 am – 4:30 pm, Tuesdays to Sundays, including statutory holidays
Admission is free
Carousel rides $2.65
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