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Toni Onley's "Diary of China Painting Trip 20 February-21 March 1988" : an annotated edition Lee, Maple


The China Diary, Canadian watercolour landscape painter Toni Onley's account of his travel experiences in China from February 20 - March 21, 1988, is one of the many fascinating documents within the Toni Onley fonds at the Special Collections Division of the University of British Columbia Library. In creating an annotated edition of the China Diary, photographs of Onley's fifteen diary illustrations have been included. Also included are references in the extensive annotations and appendices to various items in the collection and their location for further investigation. This edition of the diary can serve as an introductory guide to the UBC Toni Onley fonds as well as a document to further one's knowledge about the artist's life and art. Onley's China Diary contains information about how the artist understands his painting process and how Asian art, culture, and spirituality have influenced his technique and style as a landscape painter. The diary is also valuable for understanding cultural interaction and cultural identity formation, because in the diary, Onley describes his heightened awareness of his Canadian identity and culture as he encounters various aspects of Asian culture. The introduction gives biographical information on Toni Onley, discusses the general development of his artwork, presents some of the criticism Onley has received for his work, contextualizes the diary within Onley's life, and within Canadian culture more generally. A discussion of the value of Onley's collection in the field of Canadian literature is also included in the introduction for the collection contains documents in which Toni Onley readily writes himself into some of the received Canadian narratives of the rugged wilderness adventurer.

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