The Unavailable Memory of Gold Coin Café
Left: The artist’s family, Gold Coin Cafe, Willis Street, Te Aro, Wellington, 1980s Right: The Yeung Shing Restaurant backroom circa now.
My name is Kerry Ann Lee and I am a visual artist and educator living in Dunedin. My project, The Unavailable Memory of Gold Coin Café explores aspects of Cantonese urban settlement in Wellington, home-space, memory, material and loss and tell the story of my family’s connection to the city. For this project, I am researching and developing new artwork about the 296 Willis Street in Wellington – the site of my parent’s café-takeaway, the Gold Coin Café, and former family home in the 1980s.
The current owners are another Chinese family who live upstairs and manage the business below, the Yeung Shing Restaurant, which is now closed due to ‘earthquake restrengthening issues’. The business will continue, yet the existing building is earmarked for destruction to make way for a new structure. This event makes this site valuable and urgent to explore these themes through personal and creative exploration.
The project is supported with funding by the Chinese Poll Tax Heritage Trust and will be exhibited at Enjoy Public Art Gallery, in Wellington from 26 September – 18 October 2013