Large Scale Sculptures Light Up Civic Center Plaza
Six illuminated sculptures by Hong Kong artist Freeman Lau commemorate the 20th Anniversary of the Establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
SAN FRANCISCO -- The City announces the installation of six large-scale illuminated bamboo lanterns, titled Sui Sui Ping An – Peace All Year Round, by Hong Kong artist Freeman Lau. Organized by the San Francisco Arts Commission in partnership with the San Francisco Recreation & Park Department and the Asian Art Museum and sponsored by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, San Francisco, the installation commemorates the 20th Anniversary of the Establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and is scheduled to coincide with the Lunar New Year.
“As we saw with the very successful rabbit installation this year, large-scale temporary art has the power to catalyze the community and invigorate our public spaces,” says Director of Cultural Affairs Tom DeCaigny. “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.”
Mr. Ivanhoe Chang, director of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in San Francisco said that the economic and cultural ties between Hong Kong and San Francisco remain strong. “We are excited to kick off the year-long celebration of the 20th Anniversary of the Establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region with this unique installation. This project not only exhibits the design of our home-grown and accomplished artist, Freeman Lau, it also showcases the traditional craftsmanship from Hong Kong,” said Director Chang.
Inspired by the experience of Chinese immigrants who settled on the West Coast, the artist will create six bamboo lanterns that take the form of vases of varying shapes. In Chinese, the sound of vase (花瓶 Hua Ping) is the same as safe and peaceful (平安 Ping An). The sculptures are adorned with vibrant colors and the names of early Chinese migrants who adopted transcription of their names in an effort to assimilate peacefully in their new home. According to the artist, “This art installation symbolizes not only the history of Chinese descent in the States, but also a blessing of “家家戶戶歲歲平安Jia Jia Hu Hu, Sui Sui Ping An – peace all year round for every family” to both the City and the residents, for the celebration of the Chinese New Year.”
The sculptures range in height from 16 to 20 feet and will be sited in the center of Civic Center Plaza. The Asian Art Museum will host a 3-foot sculpture to echo the larger installation.
“Public artworks remind us that important conversations about the value of different cultures don’t just happen inside classrooms or galleries,” says Asian Art Museum director Jay Xu. “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.”
The installation will commence on January 24 and take approximately 4 days. Segments of the lanterns will be built in advance by traditional craftsmen in Hong Kong and assembled onsite for the public to observe the work in progress. Each sculpture will be illuminated from within with LED lighting.
“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,” said Phil Ginsburg, SF Rec & Park General Manager. “I want to thank everyone who had a hand in making this possible, especially the Arts Commission for continuing to bring high caliber art to San Francisco.”