TNC Podcast: The Politics of Un-naming

Mural artists Cyler Sparrow-Point, Alicia Sparrow, Sunroop Kaur, Keerat Kaur and Sandeep Johal. Photo Credit Manjot Bains.

“We cannot hope to preserve the national type if we allow Asiatics to enter Canada in any numbers.” Harry Stevens was a Canadian MP in 1914, and a key player in ensuring that the passengers on the Komagata Maru couldn’t disembark in Vancouver. Seems like Harry wanted to keep Canada white forever.

On August 9, 2019, the Canadian government un-named the Harry Steven’s building, located in Vancouver and home to federal government offices.

On the same day, Vancouver Mural Fest unveiled a new mural on the same building, Taike-Sye’yə. The mural depicts the local Musqueum Nation as they brought food to the passengers on the Komagata Maru in 1914. Designed by artists Keerat Kaur, Alicia Sparrow and Cyler Sparrow-Point, with assistance from Sandeep Johal and Sunroop Kaur, and curated by our own Naveen Girn, this mural is a magical and beautiful testament to alternate and undocumented histories, the importance of oral traditions and storytelling, and the strength in solidarity.

A section of the mural created by Alicia Sparrow and Cyler Sparrow-Point. Photo Credit Jugni Style.

In this episode of the podcast, The Nameless Collective discuss the politics of un-naming a building, the meaning of taikey, and the tensions and relationships between Indigenous and South Asian communities in British Columbia.

Download this episode + subscribe to The Nameless Collective now on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcast and anywhere else you listen to podcasts.

And find the Taike-Sye’yə mural in the lane behind 125 East 10th Avenue in Vancouver, Canada.

Clicked at a walking tour led by The Nameless Collective Podcast. Photo credit Jugni Style.