Sydney, Jan 29: Lunar lanterns illuminating Sydney’s central boulevard, laneway festivals bringing the city to life, artworks transforming the streets into open-air galleries and dragon boats once again racing in Darling Harbour will herald the Year of the Tiger.
The City of Sydney’s Lunar Festival brings together artists, performers, restaurateurs and multicultural communities to mark the start of a new lunar year, and welcome people back to the heart of the city.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the Lunar Festival will host more than 80 events over 16 days to celebrate the auspicious Year of the Tiger.
“Many events and programs across NSW continue to be impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and the recent surge in case numbers,” she said.
“As we deal with the impacts of the latest Omicron variant, we will work with the NSW Government to ensure the event is managed in line with public health orders.
“We strongly urge people attending our events to be vaccinated, wear a mask and practise safe distancing. If you are feeling unwell, please stay home.”
The Dixon Street lunar artwork installation includes a lantern curtain strung the length of the Chinatown mall, tiger designs wrapped around the street’s trees and tiger image decals dotted along the pavement.
Sydney artist Susan Chen said her artwork was inspired by her own experience as a Chinese-Australian growing up in Sydney.
“In Chinese culture tigers are traditionally portrayed as strong, powerful and fierce creatures. But given how the pandemic has turned the world upside down, I wanted to show the creature’s gentler side.
“I hope the display draws people back into the area and gets them into the local shops and restaurants.
“It’s been tough on so many levels – economically and the everyday racism that blames Asians for the pandemic has been so confronting for Asian Australians. I hope this goes some way to creating a sense of unity and hope for the future.”
Another artwork transforming Chinatown is the 100 Wishes Quilts installation that is the culmination of artworks created by a host of young Sydneysiders.
Coordinated by The Haymarket Institute, creative director Darren Kong said the artwork concept was inspired by a tradition from northern China.
“In welcoming and celebrating a new life, it is a custom to invite family and friends to come together to make a Bai Jia Bei, a 100 good wishes quilt. Each person will contribute a patch of cloth that goes into a quilt and a memory notebook with wishes for the child,” Kong explained.
“The quilt symbolises luck, energy, and good wishes from all the families and friends who contributed the fabric.
“The quilt is then passed down from generation to generation.
The streets and laneways of Chinatown will become a hub of family fun for Lunar Lanes today with roving performers, delicious food, DJs, LED lion and dragon dancers and a night-time concert from 5pm to 10pm.
Twenty three larger-than-life lunar lanterns representing the 12 animal signs of the traditional lunar zodiac will line George Street and stand guard in Chinatown from today till Feb 3.
The 2022 Sydney Lunar Festival attractions also include:
· Welcome to Koreatown, a one-night street festival in Wilmot Street, celebrating local culture, food and artists on Feb 12 from 5pm to 11pm.
· The Lunar Spectacular Show featuring an array of community performers bringing Town Hall to life on Feb 12 from 10.30am.
· The city’s streets turned into a giant art gallery with banners featuring the work of five local Asian-Australian artists, who share what the Year of the Tiger means for them in their artworks.
· The famed dragon boat races back for a spectacular weekend of competition in Darling Harbour’s Cockle Bay on Feb 5 and 6.
· Roving street performers and lion dancers taking to the streets of the city and Chinatown.
· Three hand-painted lunar gateways on Alfred Street celebrating Korean, Chinese and Vietnamese traditional architecture.
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