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Chinaman's Chance: Views of the Chinese American Experience
While the experience of being of Chinese heritage and living in America is unique to each individual, this exhibition will investigate the similarities and dissimilarities of these experiences.
The discovery of gold in California drew unprecedented numbers of Chinese immigrants. By 1865 about 50,000 Chinese had come to “Golden Mountain” to try their luck. But the winds of fortune often blew in unexpected directions.
The majority of the Transcontinental Railroad’s east-bound track was built by Chinese. To conquer the treacherous terrain, workers were often suspended from the top of cliffs to plant explosives. It was from this dangerous task that the phrase “A Chinaman’s Chance in Hell” was coined. Later shorten to “Chinaman’s Chance,” the phrase unfortunately defined many immigrants’ experiences.
Three contemporary artists – Amanda Ross-Ho, Zhi Lin and Arthur Ou – will examine the diverse Chinese American experience from the days of the Transcontinental Railroad’s construction to today.
Several of the artists will be incorporating Pacific Asia Museum collections into their work, and all draw their inspiration from the history encompassed in the museum’s exhibitions.