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The Gift of Life in West End embodies LNY Splash’s theme of Born to Be Free

craft Huei-Ting Tsai
Taiwanese bamboo weaver Huei-Ting Tsai creates usable products and beautiful works of art.

This year, the West End BIA has once again celebrated the Lunar New Year with a display of public art. The association accomplished this by teaming up with LNY Splash on The Gift of Life installation by Huei-Ting Tsai.

The Taiwanese bamboo artist’s work includes fish appearing to swim freely through woven rings above the intersection of Cardero and Robson streets. The lit-up work embodies LNY Splash and LunarFest Vancouver’s slogan of Born to Be Free.

“In Mandarin, ‘fish’ sounds like ‘surplus’,” the LNY Splash website states. “We always hope to have extras to share in a new year. Fish, in many Chinese-speaking communities, symbolizes prosperity.”

West End
Salmon, like human beings, are Born to Be Free in Huei-Ting Tsai’s installation. Photo by LunarFest Vancouver.

Meanwhile, salmon are a central element of Coast Salish culture. LNY Splash points out that salmon serve as a primary food source and symbol of fertility, abundance, and renewal.

“Through this important symbol, we hope to bring together the warm well-wishes of both the Asian communities and the Coast Salish peoples, as well as everyone who may pass through the streets of Vancouver.”

The Gift of Life will remain near the intersection of Robson and Cardero streets until the end of February.

West End BIA
The Gift of Life includes fish created from bamboo. Photo by LunarFest Vancouver.

Last year, the West End BIA co-presented the Hakka Starry Skies on Cardero Street just south of Robson. With that installation, it partnered with the Kaohsiung municipal government in Taiwan to display oil-on-paper umbrellas, which often appear on auspicious occasions in Hakka culture.

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Charlie Smith

Charlie Smith

Pancouver editor Charlie Smith has worked as a Vancouver journalist in print, radio, and television for more than three decades.

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The Society of We Are Canadians Too created Pancouver to foster greater appreciation for underrepresented artistic communities. A rising tide of understanding lifts all of us.

We would like to acknowledge that we are gathered on the traditional and unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam Indian Band), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish Nation), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh Nation). With this acknowledgement, we thank the Indigenous peoples who still live on and care for this land.

The Society of We Are Canadians Too created Pancouver to foster greater appreciation for underrepresented artistic communities. A rising tide of understanding lifts all of us.

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We would like to acknowledge that we are gathered on the traditional and unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. With this acknowledgement, we thank the Indigenous peoples who still live on and care for this land.