Lonely Planet Writer

San Francisco celebrates the Year of the Rooster with giant illuminated lanterns

A new art installation is lighting up San Francisco this month. Created by Hong Kong designer and artist Freeman Lau, Sui Sui Ping An – Peace All Year Round is a series of six enormous illuminated bamboo lanterns on display at the city’s Civic Center Plaza.

Giant lanterns on display at San Francisco's Civic Center Plaza.
Giant lanterns on display at San Francisco’s Civic Center Plaza. Image by San Francisco Asian Art Museum

Standing 16-20 feet high and formed in various shapes and bright colours, each lantern resembles a vase. In addition to creating a vibrant display, the sculptures are also steeped in symbolism — Hua Ping, the Chinese word for vase, has the same sounds as the word meaning safe and peaceful (Ping An.) The vases also display the names of early Chinese migrants who adopted transcription of their names in an effort to assimilate peacefully in their new home.

A photo posted by Andy Higgs (@aajhiggs) on Feb 7, 2017 at 6:14pm PST

The artist was inspired by the experience of Chinese immigrants who settled on the West Coast, according to a statement. “This art installation symbolises 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,” said Lau.

A photo posted by b2khs (@b2khs) on Feb 8, 2017 at 7:09am PST

“Large-scale temporary art has the power to catalyse the community and invigorate our public spaces,” said 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.”

A photo posted by @shelbellls on Feb 7, 2017 at 8:15pm PST

San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum, one of the installation organisers (in conjunction with the San Francisco Arts Commission and the San Francisco Recreation & Park Department,) will also display a three-foot lantern as a nod to the larger sculptures. The lanterns are on display from now until 10 March.
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