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Kimball Arts Center Exhibit Opens With Tribute To Chinese Railroad Workers

Kimball Arts Center Zhi Lin Exhibit

The Kimball Arts Center is partnering with cultural institutions throughout the state to celebrate the completion of the nation’s first transcontinental railroad.

Kimball Arts Center Curator Nancy Stoaks says the exhibit opens tonight with 25 works from artist Zhi Lin. His paintings, she says, brings focus to the many thousands of Chinese workers who were integral to the building of the transcontinental railroad through the American West but who were often excluded from view.

Zhi Lin is a professor of painting and drawing at the University of Washington and Stoaks says he’s spent 10 years developing a body of work focusing on the cultural history of Chinese workers who came to the US to build the American railroad.

“Over that period of time, he’s traveled through California and Nevada and Utah and really, Wyoming in exploring this history in great detail. Incredible paintings as well as a large-scale video installation that includes five tons of ballast rock that really recreates the feeling of being right there at Promontory Summit with the railroad in front of you as well as many other amazing pieces.”

The artist will be speaking tonight along with Utah’s Poet Laureate, Paisley Rekdal, who will do a reading at 7.

“Zhi will be present with us and he’ll be saying a few words. He'll be saying a few words. And we're also opening an exhibition by local artist Parker Jones in our cafe gallery. And we’re also really excited to feature a short reading by Utah's poet laureate Paisley Rekdal. And she has been commissioned by the Spike 150 to write a poem that features the history of the transcontinental railroad. And she'll be reading an excerpt from that new work of hers.”

An artist’s workshop is scheduled for Saturday morning. There’s no cost to sit in and listen but if interested in a critique, the cost of the workshop is $20.00.

We’re inviting Zhi to do a group critique with local artists, particularly painters and drawers but it's open to artists working in all media and is an opportunity to have a discussion about work that is in progress and where you're looking for feedback. And it's just a really supportive environment to have that sort of conversation.”

The exhibit, Zhi Lin: “Chinaman’s Chance” on Promontory Summit opens to the public tonight at 6 at the Kimball Arts Center on Kearns Boulevard.