2023 is the year of water rabbit based on the traditional five element theory (五行 Wu Xing) and lunar new year zodiacs(生肖 Sheng Xiao).
In traditional Chinese folklore, the rabbit is the beloved messenger from the moon that spreads happiness, good luck, and prosperity, and brings families together during the festive season of the lunar new year.
In the spirit of bringing the lucky wishes of the rabbit to the community in Sydney for the lunar new year of 2023, artists Yuxiao Wang and Meilun Gao of Studio Yu & Mei, created a pair of fluffy luminous rabbit, A-Hong(阿红), meaning the lucky-red, and A-Zi (阿紫), the lucky-purple, for Dixon Street Mall at Sydney Chinatown.
The body of A-Hong and A-Zi are decorated with translucent perspex strips that dispel colourful lights when illuminated. The selection of colour refers to the two Chinese proverbs, Wu Cai Xiang Yun (五彩祥云), meaning the lucky cloud with five colours, and Zi Qi Dong Lai (紫气东来), meaning the purple air from the East that brings prosperity, both of which are popular motifs and inspiration for colour pallets of traditional Chinese paintings and decorations.
The form of the rabbits referenced the classic paper-style rabbit lanterns which were usually decorated with layers of paper strips to create a fluffy and cute look of the rabbit, and were popular among the young kids who ran around carrying the lantern with sticks and strings during the lunar new year lantern festivals. Calling upon their childhood memories, the artists of A-Hong and A-Zi aspire to recreate the colourful and joyous experiences of lunar new year celebrations, and hope to bring all the best wishes to the community and visitors of Sydney Chinatown for the Year of Water Rabbit 2023.
Listen to an audio description of the Dixon Street Rabbits.
About the artists:
Meilun and Yuxiao are an emerging duo of designers, working across architectural design and collaborative public art, with a sensitive approach bridging tangible built environment and daily artful practices.
Both Meilun and Yuxiao were brought up in China and moved to Sydney in 2013 to pursue higher education and have since been working and living in the City of Sydney’s area and the inner west.
While navigating the move from a collectivist Chinese community to a Euro-centric education and professional environment, Meilun and Yuxiao experienced discord and fragmentation of identity, but also find resonance and deep connection through the diverse cultural interchanges, which brings a multi-layered and sentimental approach to their design thinking.
On top of their design training, Meilun is an avid explorer in traditional Chinese literature with special interest in Fengshui and Ba-Guatheory. Yuxiao keeps practicing the art of traditional Chinese calligraphy and seal engraving which she was taught since the age of 5, and is now specialising in the font of Li(隶), a form of writing that dates back more than 2,200 years.