Presented by CAFKA
Flowers Between consists of two lightbox signs with illuminating displays of flowers. The work draws a visual and historical parallel between two early Chinese Canadian businesses located in the Region of Waterloo—the White Rose Café in Cambridge (c.1925-1940) and Hop Wo Laundry in Waterloo (C.1930-40). By connecting two neighbouring stories of early Chinese spaces, the project highlights the significance of local history amidst rapid urban change, and the two types of businesses (laundries and restaurants) that Chinese immigrants widely pursued due to various forms of legal and social discrimination. Flowers Between embeds, markers, and clues of stories lost or overlooked back into the public space by allowing them to shine bright.
Lee Bing, who arrived in Canada at the age of 19 and took over the Café in his 30s, managed the White Rose Café. Lee was known for telling customers of the Café that he was one of the six Chinese men who survived the Titantic’s maiden voyage. However, historians believe that this may have been is uncle Coon Lee, who also lived in the area with the Lee family, was the more likely survivor recorded due to his age. The first sign takes its form from the name of Lee’s White Rose Café.