Long Time No See at
Varley Art Gallery of Markham

May 13 - Sept 3, 2023

Longing Belonging ✿ 100 Years 100 Stories
May 13 to September 3, 2023, Varley Art Gallery

Longing Belonging ✿ 100 Years 100 Stories a community engagement project and exhibition organized by the collective Long Time No See (LTNS), tackles Canada's troubled colonialist history by marking the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Exclusion Act. LTNS members engaged with local Markham communities, interviewing and photographing people in spaces that elicited sentiments of belonging, gathering images and stories to be presented in the gallery.

It is important to note that 2023 is also the centenary of the signing of The Williams Treaties—bureaucratic legislation signed by the Government of Canada and seven First Nations resulting in the surrender of the final portion of southern Ontario territory to the Canadian Government, including the land that the Varley Art Gallery sits on today.

With this project, LTNS asks us all to reflect on the questions:
What is our place on this land?
What is remembered?
What is forgotten?
What is our role in reconciliation?
How do we all belong?

Longing Belonging ✿ 100 Years 100 Stories is presented by the Varley Art Gallery Markham in partnership with Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival. The project is curated by Long Time No See and coordinated by Brenda Joy Lem and Anik Glaude.It is funded in part by the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, the Varley-McKay Art Foundation of Markham, and the City of Markham.

About the Project ✿ 关于这次活动 ✿ 關於這次活動

In the depths of the COVID-19 lockdowns, a collective of artists and educators came together to support Toronto’s Spadina Chinatown against the shuttering of businesses, the rise of anti-Chinese racism and aggressive gentrification.  Fearing that Chinatown was facing a tipping point where it could disappear, the collective invited the community to take selfies at places of emotional attachment in Chinatown and share stories.  Each photograph with its personal story became a poster for the first project titled Long Time No See (LTNS) which the collective later adopted as its group name.

新冠封城期间,多伦多的士巴丹拿唐人街面临着商铺倒闭,反华种族主义渐盛,士绅化加剧等重重危机。为了支持唐人街,一群艺术家和教育家们走到了一起。 出于对唐人街将不复存在的担心,他们邀请社区居民在唐人街有温情回忆的角落留影并分享故事。 这些讲述个人故事的照片成为了首次 "好久不见"(Long Time No See, LTNS)的活动海报,而“好久不见”也成为了他们组织的名称。

新冠封城期間,多倫多的士巴丹拿唐人街面臨著商舖倒閉,反華種族主義漸盛,士紳化加劇等重重危機。為了支持唐人街,一群藝術家和教育家們走到了一起。出於對唐人街將不復存在的擔心,他們邀請社區居民在唐人街有溫情回憶的角落留影並分享故事。這些講述個人故事的照片成為了首次 "好久不見"(Long Time No See, LTNS)的活動海報,而“好久不見”也成為了他們組織的名稱。

With the help of community partners, LTNS wheatpasted over 200 posters on the walls and windows of storefronts and community spaces turning Chinatown into an outdoor community art gallery that reminded the community of the warmth of their friends, neighbours and gathering spaces.



Over the past several decades immigration has increased to suburban areas:  Scarborough, Markham, Richmond Hill and Newmarket, while bypassing the older downtown Chinatowns. In the summer of 2022, LTNS was invited to create an exhibition for the Varley Art Gallery of Markham. 



What happens when Chinatown goes to the suburbs? 



LTNS members engaged with the suburban communities about their lives and experiences settling and growing up outside of downtown, interviewing and photographing them at places they felt gave them a sense of belonging.   Common themes emerged: food, family, culture, ancestry, and community. 

“好久不见”的成员拜访了城郊的社区居民们,了解他们在市中心外定居和成长的生活经历,并在他们心中有归属感的地点进行了采访与拍摄。 于是共通的主题浮现了:食物、家庭、文化、家系和社区。


Canada’s troubled colonialist history included the 1923 Chinese Immigration (Exclusion) Act, which deemed people of Chinese descent “unsuitable for citizenship” and would prevent entry into Canada by people of Chinese heritage for 24 years. As a result of the Exclusion Act husbands were separated from wives, parents were separated from their children. It was not until 1967 that race-based discrimination was legally removed.  

加拿大殖民历史包括1923年实施的《華人移民法》(又称《排华法案》)。该法认为华裔 "不适合入籍",并在24年间禁止华裔入境加拿大。《排华法案》迫使夫妻、亲子分离。而这样基于种族的歧视直到1967年才被从法条中删除

加拿大殖民歷史包括1923年實施的《華人移民法》(又稱《排華法案》)。該法認為華裔 "不適合入籍",並在24年間禁止華裔入境加拿大。 《排華法案》迫使夫妻、親子分離。而這樣基於種族的歧視直到1967年才被從法條中刪除。

On the hundredth anniversary of the Chinese Exclusion Act, this exhibition,  LONGING  BELONGING  *  100 YEARS  100 STORIES asks us all in to reflect on: “what is remembered?”, “what is forgotten?”, “what is our role in reconciliation?”, “how do we belong?”

在《排华法案》实施一百周年之际, 此次“向往与归属 * 百年移民故事”展览邀请我们反思:“什么被纪念?”“什么被遗忘?”“我们在和解中扮演什么角色?”“我们如何归属?”

在《排華法案》實施一百週年之際, 此次“嚮往與歸屬 * 百年移民故事”展覽邀請我們反思:“什麼被紀念?”“什麼被遺忘?”“我們在和解中扮演什麼角色?”“我們如何歸屬?”

This project will be featured in the Varley Gallery's 2023 Summer season. To learn more about our processes and to keep up with our work, follow us on Instagram @longtimenoseeTO

本次展览将于2023年夏在瓦利美术馆展出。想了解更多的活动过程或最新进展,请关注我们的Instagram账号 @longtimenoseeTO

本次展覽將於2023年夏在瓦利美術館展出。想了解更多的活動過程或最新進展,請關注我們的Instagram賬號 @longtimenoseeTO

Learn More About LTNS Collective

How to Contribute

Engage with Us!

Follow us @LTNSChinatown on Instagram to engage with our projects in real time. We love to hear your feedback!


Help Us Out!

Speak a second language? Want to help us with installation, printing or promotion? We'd love to get you involved!


Support the Project!

We're grateful to out partners for their ongoing support! Want to support our future projects? Get in touch!