Nam is alluded to only briefly in Carr’s The House of All Sorts (1944), a memoir published shortly before her death, though he also turns up in her journals. From the memoir, we glean that he was accomplished and ambitious enough to approach her with his work. She decided to present his paintings in a one-off Salon des Refusés-style group show that she was organizing in response to the rejection of her own paintings by the Island Arts and Crafts Society in Victoria (which she bitterly blasted as “an extremely exclusive set” who showed “little tinkling landscapes weakly executed in water colours”).2 2 - Emily Carr, The House of All Sorts (1944) (Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 2004), 116 — 17. Not only were its members conservative in their tastes, they were also outright bigoted, and they refused to let Nam take their art classes, much less show his work, because he was a Chinese immigrant.
This article also appears in the issue 92 - DemocracyDiscover