Kevin Matthew Wong (he/him)
Kevin is a Hakka Chinese-Canadian theatre creator, facilitator, performer, projection designer, and producer. His work often merges personal storytelling, object puppetry, and video projections. Kevin is the co-founder and Artistic Director of Broadleaf Creative, a company that merges environmentalism and live performance, and he is Senior Producer and Artistic Associate at Why Not Theatre, leading on large-scale and international projects like What You Won’t Do For Love, starring Drs. Tara Cullis and David Suzuki, and Mahabharata at the Shaw Festival and Barbican Centre. Kevin has collaborated with companies such as Theatre Passe Muraille, Cahoots Theatre, Music Picnic, Shaw Festival, Stratford Festival, Luminato, and the American social justice residency The Gardarev Center. Supported by the Tarragon Theatre Greenhouse Residency and Why Not Theatre, Kevin is currently developing a new solo-show about the Hakka-Canadian journey called Benevolence.
White supremacy culture harms us all. It’s at the root of colonization. It prioritizes values like individualism, perfectionism, one right way, and a sense of urgency over and above the values of other cultures and ways of being (https://www.whitesupremacyculture.info/characteristics.html).
This culture permeates our workplaces and our creative spaces. It damages our sense of self when we occupy our own cultural values and beliefs as Asian artists and arts workers. It muddies our engagements with, and perceptions of our own artistic work. It restricts the way BIPOC artists and arts workers are perceived in this industry and beyond. It is pervasive, it is invisible to those with the privilege to ignore it, and it takes work to make it visible, legible, and palpable.
As a younger Asian artist and arts worker I’ve experienced common dismissal of my experiences (both lived experience around racism and anti-racism as a BIPOC and Chinese-Canadian, and as a professional producer and creator). This racism means I spend a lot of time translating my words and intentions trying to build bridges of understanding between predominantly white staff and boards and the BIPOC artists and arts workers collaborating with those organizations, as well as between and within BIPOC identities.
It may be obvious, but Asian stories should and cannot solely or accurately be deciphered through a white, Euro-centric lens. Ignorance around Asian cultures, norms, values, and ways of being leads to misunderstandings, misinterpretations and sleights against Asian work that continue to suppress us. The ignorance of the white gaze – and our own internalized white supremacy and anti-Asian racism – are powerful hurdles to be over come.
As an artist and producer I’m proud to expand the catalogue of Asian-Canadian stories by creating new work and supporting other artists’ creations. It has been a great privilege to collaborate with artists and companies like Njo Kong Kie’s international Macau-Toronto company Music Picnic, Priscila Uppal’s Dr. Up Productions, fu-Gen’s Interdisciplinary Kitchen, and the incredible POC-led team at Why Not Theatre, among others. I am excited to continue to use artistic and producing skills in solidarity across Asian communities and identities to tell more of our stories, to tell them with more nuance and rigour, and to dismantle the monolith of “Asian.”
Being an Asian Canadian in the performing arts comes with a great sense of pride and purpose, as well as daily struggles of battling quiet discrimination, lack of representation and resource. It means being part of writing the future of Canadian culture and insisting that Asian stories are integral to our past, present and future.