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Journey of the Horse

About The Exhibit

Journey of the Horse is committed to preserving the rich cultural heritage of Edmonton’s Chinese history. Our exhibit is a permanent installation on two levels in the Mah Society of Edmonton building. 

 

This two-part exhibit starts with a journey through the Mah Society of Edmonton’s rich, 100+ year history. Visitors are encouraged to continue to level two, to follow the journey of Chinese settlers in Alberta. Also housed on level two are our cultural practices archive and genealogy library. 

 

Come see our collection of fascinating objects and stories that illustrate the challenges and triumphs of Edmonton’s Chinese community. We invite you to immerse yourself in this historic experience and learn more about Edmonton’s Chinese past.

Our Story

Journey of the Horse's story starts where both phases of the exhibit start – in rural, southern China.

During the Mah Society of Edmonton's Heritage Tour to members' ancestral villages, an interest to learn more about the early Chinese migrants was sparked. Haiku Port in Baksa, is the place where Sue Mah's grandfather left his village in China for a better life in Canada. As she followed his immigration story, she quickly discovered that it was unimaginably difficult, but not uncommon. Many early Chinese immigrants to North America had similar experiences. It was more than an arduous trip across the ocean, it was a life full of setbacks and the realities and results of harsh racism.

Back in Edmonton, the Mah Society building was in need of a renovation. It began as a plan to paint the walls and find a better way to use the basement, but coupled with Sue's strong desire to tell the early Chinese-Canadian immigrant story, the renovation turned into the wonderful exhibit you see today.

 

With support from the Mah Society of Edmonton’s Board, private donations, and grants from both the province of Alberta and the city of Edmonton, Journey of the Horse was created. The exhibit now has a permanent home in the Mah Society of Edmonton building.

This project pays homage to all the brave Chinese men and women
who crossed the Pacific to give us a better life!

Meet The Team

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Sue Mah

Lead Curator

Sue was born in China and immigrated with her parents to Edmonton when she was 6½ years old. They joined her grandfather who had immigrated to Canada in 1914. Sue's early years in Edmonton were focused on learning English, and adapting to North American culture. She had a very "Canadian" childhood.

 

Sue's grandfather and father each served as Secretary for the Mah Society of Edmonton's Board. Although Sue wasn't very active with the Mah Society at the time, she joined the Society when her father stepped away from the Board. She became the third generation in her family to hold the Board's Secretary position.

Sue attended both Mah Society Heritage Tours to Baksa, Toisan, China. During those trips in 2018 and 2019 to her ancestral village, Sue developed an interest in her Chinese roots. Then, learning about the hardships early Chinese settlers to Canada experienced through museum visits in China and British Columbia, Sue developed a strong desire to tell the story that has become Journey of the Horse.

Sue feels lucky to have met Andrea on the 2019 Heritage Tour. They instantly had a strong connection and, with Andrea's creative skills, Sue’s ideas came to fruition!

 

Sue hopes Journey of the Horse will start conversations within families as they search and learn about their past!

 

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Andrea Maru

Co-Curator and Designer

Andrea is a graphic designer born, raised, and now based in Vancouver, B.C. She has a B.A. Special in Visual Communications from The University of Alberta and currently works in business-to-business marketing.

 

As a third-generation Chinese-Canadian with Marr (Mah) roots in Edmonton and Quan roots in Victoria, Andrea grew up unaware of the hardships and discrimination that her grandparents endured. She was introduced to this history in 2021 when she participated in a call for C.I. certificates for Catherine Clement's exhibit, "The Paper Trail to the 1923 Exclusion Act". This was the beginning of Andrea's own journey of learning.

 

When Sue introduced her idea to create Journey of the Horse, Andrea's passion was sparked to co-create an exhibit that would share the Chinese-Canadian history, preserve stories from elders, and to flex her creative muscles in a new way.

Andrea is delighted with how Journey of the Horse has turned out and truly hopes you enjoy your experience at the exhibit.

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