Will Kwan Tours Multiculturalism’s Flaws in Toronto
Amy Luo

Review. Canadian Art. November 24, 2014.

[Excerpt] During Bill O’Reilly’s much-discussed appearance on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart last month, the Fox News host denied the existence of white privilege, invoking the economic success of Asian Americans as proof. Asian Americans have a higher median income than white or black Americans, O’Reilly argued, because they value stable homes and good education. This image of East Asian immigrants as respectable upholders of the nuclear family has been around in North America since the 1950s, when such ideas were expedient amid the political milieu of the Cold War and the Civil Rights movement. Since then, these associations have sedimented into the oft-circulated trope of the “model minority”: the well-educated, financially self-sufficient and politically docile East Asian citizen. The “model minority” stereotype serves as the point of departure for Will Kwan’s new three-channel video work If All You Have is a Hammer, Everything Looks Like a Nail (2014), part of this year’s Reel Asian Film Festival. The work is currently showing at Trinity Square Video in Toronto and was commissioned as part of Gendai Gallery’s Model Minority program, a series of workshops and projects seeking to engage critically with Canadian multiculturalism by parsing this particular Asian stereotype.

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