Large-scale bamboo sculptures in San Francisco on display to mark 20th anniversary of establishment of HKSAR

Hong Kong (HKSAR) -      Six vase-shaped bamboo lanterns, ranging in height from 16 to 20 feet, are lighting up Civic Center Plaza in San Francisco. The special exhibition, "Sui Sui Ping An - Peace All Year Round" by Hong Kong artist Freeman Lau, is on display until March 10.  Toecho the installation at the Plaza, a 6-foot tall lantern is on show at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco.

     As the installation coincides with the Lunar New Year, the dedication ceremony and lantern lighting took place today (January 30, San Francisco time), the third day of the Year of the Rooster. Officiating at the ceremony were the President of the San Francisco Arts Commission, Ms JD Beltran; the Director of the Asian Art Museum, Dr Jay Xu; the Director of Operations of the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department, Mr Denny Kern; the Hong Kong Commissioner for Economic and Trade Affairs, USA, Mr Clement Leung; the Director of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, San Francisco, Mr Ivanhoe Chang; and Hong Kong artist Freeman Lau.

     Speaking at a reception at the Asian Art Museum following the dedication ceremony, Mr Chang thanked the exhibition organisers, the San Francisco Arts Commission and the Asian Art Museum, for their dedicated support.

Sponsored by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in San Francisco, this one-of-a-kind public art installation has commenced the year-long celebration in the US of the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR).

     Mr Chang said, "'Together ‧ Progress ‧ Opportunity' is the theme for the 20th anniversary celebration. We are grateful to have such an opportunity to join hands with our partners here in San Francisco to realise this unique project. The large-scale bamboo installation not only exhibits the design of our home-grown accomplished artist Freeman Lau, but also showcases the traditional craftsmanship from Hong Kong."

     Craftsmen from Hong Kong built the structures with bamboo strips.

A team of four craftsmen flew from Hong Kong to complete the fabrication, install the LED lights and assemble the structures on-site. 

     The bamboo vases are adorned with vibrant colours and Chinese surnames. Inspired by the experience of Chinese immigrants who adopted English surnames upon their arrival in the United States, Lau placed Chinese characters of family names along with various English versions of them.

     Lau also incorporated a traditional Chinese blessing in the exhibition's title, "Sui Sui Ping An - Peace All Year Round". In Chinese, the word for vase is "ping", as in "hua ping" for flower vase.  It is a homophone for the word "peace", often used as part of the auspicious phrase "ping an" for peace and safety.

"This art installation symbolises not only the history of Chinese descent in the United States, but also the blessing of 'Jia jia hu hu, sui sui ping an' - peace all year round for every family - to both the City of San Francisco and its residents, for the celebration of the Chinese New Year," Lau said.

     Ms Beltran said, "Freeman Lau has created a beautiful tribute to the Chinese American experience, and an artwork that can be experienced on many levels, day and night. We are grateful for the generous sponsorship of this project by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office."

     Dr Xu said, "Public artworks remind us that important conversations about the value of different cultures don't just happen inside classrooms or galleries. By weaving together elements of our shared past into a vivid, festive installation that all can enjoy, Freeman Lau and our partners at the San Francisco Arts Commission and the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office give us new reasons for appreciating this lively tradition."

     Mr Kern said, "We're really excited to welcome this new installation to Civic Center Plaza.

Hosting art in public parks is a great way to activate our spaces and make them more lively. I want to thank everyone who had a hand in making this possible, especially the Arts Commission for continuing to bring high-calibre art to San Francisco."

     "Sui Sui Ping An - Peace All Year Round" is one of the highlights of the activities in 2017 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the HKSAR. Other programmes include a young entrepreneur competition, a business conference and cultural events planned for San Francisco and other western states.

Published on: 2017-01-31

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