Chinatown on the Move

A walk led by Alastair Kwan

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Just south of Soho, is London’s Chinatown. Bundled into this small area can be found every kind of establishment from bars, restaurants, supermarkets to casinos, brothels and massage parlours. It is a bustling tourist attraction yet also a haven for Chinese and South East Asian culture. It is an area shaped by intense cultural exchange. Its identity is ever changing from its first iteration in Limehouse to its re-incarnation next to Soho. Now its Cantonese heritage is adapting to new demands brought by soaring rents and changing tastes. Across the pond, Chinese restaurants in New York fuelled the art the emerging abstract expressionists who favoured the cheap prices. At the same time in London, as the modern Chinatown grew, so did the post-war Soho art scene. Now Chinatown is changing again. In order to promote more frank discussion of cultural appreciation and identity, Chinatown perhaps has developed a new significance that we can explore through a walk through its different establishments.

Alastair’s practice broadly investigates issues of identity in postcolonial Britain, positioning this against the Western artistic tradition. He experiments across different media including video, sculpture, painting and drawing. Currently he studies on MA Sculpture at the RCA.

Instagram @alastair_kwan