Abirpothi

India’s only daily art newspaper

Collector Rennie to go big by housing Chinese Canadian Museum

Eminent collector Bob Rennie was first approached last year about transforming the Rennie Museum in Vancouver’s Chinatown into a new home for the Chinese Canadian Museum, he initially declined the offer. After meetings between Rennie and the society as well as Melanie Mark, BC’s minister of tourism, arts, culture and sport, it was announced in February that the provincial government would provide funding to the society to acquire the Wing Sang building with a C$7.8m gift from the Rennie Foundation, The Art Newspaper reported.

In a statement quoted by The Art Newspaper, Grace Wong, the board Chair of Chinese Canadian Museum Society said that it is a historic moment for Chinese Canadians as it is the first such museum in Canada which will share the history, contributions and heritage of Chinese Canadians and their lived experiences. In an interview Rennie has said “Canada has been so good at hiding our own racism, as we point the finger at our neighbours to the South”.

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Rennie is board president of the Tata Americas Foundation and was recently named chair of acquisition for contemporary art at Art Institute of Chicago. The Rennie Collection will be now housed in a warehouse in the Vancouver suburb of Burnaby for private tours and a final show in September will feature unseen works of around 45 artists, The Art Newspaper reported. The Chinese Canadian museum will open in 2023, marking the 100th anniversary of the “head tax”, which imposed a $50 fee for Chinese emigrants in Canada.

The BC premier John Horgan was noted saying, “The museum will be an important place for the British Columbians, connecting the past to the present and future generations.” Now the Chinese Canadian museum will not only celebrate the history and achievements of people that have survived racism and thrived in spite of it, but an important Canadian heritage building will be preserved forever.

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