More Than A Face

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Photo of the author, courtesy of Fung Ling Feimo.

To launch the exhibit More Than a Face, part of the new Active History on Display initiative, we invited   Fung Ling Feimo, one of the storytellers, to set the stage: 

More Than A Face opens at!

It is a collection of soundscapes, visuals, written and spoken word, offering stories told through our individual voices.

We have storytellers from distinct backgrounds, time and space; from different places in the immigration cycle and eras. Yet our faces all fit the “Asian” catchall as if there’s a language and culture called “Asian”.

The irony is we often find ourselves the wrong kind of Asian while there is no one “Asian”. The diaspora identity is fluid, and the beauty is that is we can be “Asian” and “Canadian” and everything in between; free to choose which to embrace at a given moment. We can reminisce about ancient traditions, blurry memories, things lost, at the same time know English and French as “bad” as any other Canadian.

One storyteller’s family in Canada faced incarceration in detention camps during the Second World War, some of us did not. Without a doubt, all of us faced racism and displacement in some form. None in the group faced the Head Tax or the Chinese Exclusion Act though we are well aware of racism, whether systemic or state sanctioned. Some of us would have shared Iftar dinners during Ramadan, some did not. Some are multi-hyphenated third-culture Canadians and want to drop the hyphens.

Ruminate about who they are and which history matches with whom. You may be surprised…

To learn more and accept that we are more than a face, check your confirmation bias at the door before walking through the exhibit.

Our “otherness” being the norm, More Than A Face allows us to explore and share our stories with no scrum over cultural “authenticity”. Our commonality is that we grew from diasporic seeds tossed around the world. What do we, the diaspora, pack and take with us? An object, a sound, a feeling, a memory? The “objects” that accompany life, accompany us. What traces of our true self do we reveal to ourselves and you, the viewer?

We have come together in this exhibition to explore, just as the space would induce the viewer to reflect on their own story. Immersed in all those experiences, forming connections in the exchange, which may even trigger memories for the viewer–as it did for me while talking about the past with project participants.

Join us on this journey of stories, with nine participating storytellers: Hayne Wai, Hollay Ghadery, Hon Lu, Maya Malik, Karmvir Kaur, Hadi Milanloo, Katsumi Kimoto, Darlyne Bautista and me, Fung Ling Feimo. 

To move beyond the exhibition and hear more shared experiences and wider perspectives, I invite you to visit the “We are Here” exhibit at

It’s where I have gathered fragmented narratives and ambiguous history, their past redacted, forgotten before they could even be remembered.

It’s a place where we “Keep and Preserve our Stories for the Future.”

So that we are part of something continuous.

So the pasts don’t really die.

So the community lives on.

Raised in Montreal, traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee and Anishnabeg peoples,  Fung Ling Feimo is an arts and culture advocate based in Calgary, Alberta, Treaty 7 territory and the home of the Métis nation. She is involved in heritage preservation for the city’s Chinatown and efforts to address histories of exclusion in Calgary. Fung Ling’s vivid description of traveling to Canada with a Monopoly board game in hand as part of the Digital Storytelling Project at the Pacific Canada Heritage Centre – Museum of Migration was part of the inspiration for the More Than a Face project. 

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