ah-tishoo, ah-tishoo, we all fall down

I’ve encouraged contributors to tell me their stories about Chinatown in whichever manner and medium they’re most comfortable in. Hopefully their voice will translate quite strongly so that when it eventually reaches new audiences, it feels as distinctive and characteristic as that fresh, first instance when they’re recounting their experiences to me. Sometimes the stories arrive fully formed, perfectly articulated and vividly realised; and other times they are maps carved into tissue!

Chinatown Comics Cards

4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art had plenty of these fliers printed up with one of my comic pages on one side and some information about how to participate in the Chinatown Comics on the other. I stopped by the gallery to pick up a stack of these late last week but stayed around for the Last Phase 2 launch and pounced on Tintin Wulia’s popular ‘Lure’ skill tester machine as soon as the other punters were distracted by speeches and drink. I didn’t walk away with one of her handmade passports, but the claw tried to pick up the chute once.

An Introduction

Dear friends,

I am looking for your stories about Sydney’s Chinatown to turn into comics!

Earlier, I worked on a similar graphic novel project, ‘CAB, which took collected autobiographical stories about my hometown of Canley Vale and Cabramatta to create a kind of narrative portrait of a community. It was a hugely rewarding experience that allowed me to engage a diverse family of people intimately familiar with the suburb to participate in sharing with the wider community comics imbued with a closer and more harmonious representation of our suburb and empathetic to our personal experiences and perspectives as its children, residents and workers.

Cabramatta’s connections and parallels makes Chinatown appear an organic growth from the ‘CAB’ project, but as a visiting eye rather than embedded resident to the Chinatown area, I’m conscious and excited by this opportunity to gain an intimate insight into the present beneficiaries of a rich history and the personalities invigorating and shaping this vibrant community’s future.

I’m fortunate to have 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art’s generous support and excited by the prospect of comics exhibited in a gallery context and distributed to a new audience. Over the next few months I’ll be sharing the process and development of ‘The Chinatown Comics’ with you as it progresses. Several generous participants and stories have already been in touch and I hope you’ll lend your voice to this project too.

The details for the project are below, if you have stories or might know somebody of interest I would love to hear from you, either directly or by contacting 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art.