West End Wishes will bring neon glow to lower Robson Street for Lunar New Year

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      The Year of the Tiger arrives on Tuesday (February 1). And this year, LunarFest Vancouver is working with the West End Business Improvement Association to commemorate this with an installation, West End Wishes, at the corner of Cardero and Robson streets from January 30 to February 15.

      To celebrate this festive time of year, LunarFest has also partnered with three West End restaurants—Dinesty Dumpling House (1719 Robson Street), Banana Leaf (1779 Robson Street), and Forage (1300 Robson Street)—on a special menu in a program called Lunar Eats.

      Through a Mandarin-language-speaking translator, the Straight interviewed the artist who created the installation, Lady Hao Hao. You can read her comments below.

      Georgia Straight: What was the inspiration behind the West End project?

      Lady Hao Hao: The West End BIA has expressed interest in being part of the LunarFest and the Lantern City (see article above) over the past two years. We had a lantern installation at English Bay last year; however, we couldn’t do one this year. To continue the partnership, we are showcasing West End Wishes, which features my work from 2020 with three large couplets: Man (Fulfilled), Fu (Fortune), and Hao (Good). We decorate our homes and workplaces with couplets during Lunar New Year. We will be displaying the lantern version of them outdoors in the street at Cardero Street and Robson.

      Georgia Straight: What were you trying to say with the art?

      Lady Hao Hao: I really like to share tradition with a contemporary context. Vancouver used to be known for its neon signs in the entertainment district, and these three couplets are made with the LED version of neon lights. Robson Street is known for some great Asian cuisine. I think the three words really speak well to the kind of experiences one would get by visiting Robson Street for great Lunar New Year dinners.

      Georgia Straight: What do you want people to think about when they look at the image?

      Lady Hao Hao: I hope people really try to reflect on things or memories that speak to the three words. We need lots of optimism after two years of pandemic; we all need to see the light at the end of the tunnel and hope for a brighter future.

      Georgia Straight: Is there anything you would like to say about the restaurants that LunarFest has partnered with?

      Lady Hao Hao: The three restaurants are Dinesty Dumpling House (1719 Robson Street), Banana Leaf (1779 Robson Street), and Forage (1300 Robson Street). All three restaurants have Asian connections but they also represent our diversity in Vancouver. Dinesty highlights the tradition, Banana Leaf shares the flavor of Southeast Asia, and Forage focuses on being sustainable and green. I think they really reflect Vancouver well—its past, present, and future.