Artist Zhi Lin depicts the plight of Chinese migrants who worked on the railroad in Tacoma
by Lisa Edge | January 17th, 2018 | Real Change News
Tacoma Art Museum (TAM) doesn’t shy away from difficult topics and its latest show is in line with the goal of not only showcasing impeccably executed art but also serving as a conduit for enlightenment. “Zhi LIN: In Search of the Lost History of Chinese Migrants and the Transcontinental Railroads” is the culmination of a decade of research by Lin. He spent countless hours going through archives and uncovering information concerning the contribution of Chinese migrants to the railroad infrastructure still in place today, as well as their expulsion from Tacoma in November 1885. The exhibition includes drawings, a 34-foot scroll, video and mixed-media paintings.
“I want people to think and look at the world differently, from an alternative point of view,” Lin said. “I want to change people’s minds one at a time. That’s the goal of my work.”
Visitors are first introduced to a series of drawings that highlight instances of violence against Chinese workers in the American West. The modern day site of the Rock Springs Massacre in Wyoming in 1885 is among the incidents depicted. In September 1885 long-simmering tensions between White coal miners and Chinese migrants culminated into a savage attack. In Lin’s caption he notes “four mutilated Chinese bodies, 24 mutilated Chinese bodies, partial bodies, and many more bone fragments” are buried in an area that is now a baseball field for the Rock Springs School District.
To read more