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A STEPS PROJECT

 

The Hope in Chinatown
曙光再現

The Hope in Chinatown 曙光再現 is a mural project led by local artist Wenting Li and Toronto Chinatown BIA to express courage, light and community resiliency.

 

PROJECT AT A GLANCE

Location: 525 Dundas St W. Toronto, Ontario

Artists: Wenting Li

Year: 2021

Services: Artist Capacity Building , Cultural Planning , Public Art Management

 

 

A STEPS PROJECT

 

The Hope in Chinatown
曙光再現

The Hope in Chinatown 曙光再現 is a mural project led by local artist Wenting Li and Toronto Chinatown BIA to express courage, light and community resiliency.

 

PROJECT AT A GLANCE

Location: 525 Dundas St W. Toronto, Ontario

Artists: Wenting Li

Year: 2021

Services: Artist Capacity Building , Cultural Planning , Public Art Management

 

 

55,000+

people experience this mural each day

1008

sq. ft of public artwork

47

community members engaged

PROJECT DETAILS

Taking place during a time of struggle for both small businesses and the community alike, The Hope in Chinatown mural aims to brighten the busy location of local restaurant Pho Pasteur with feelings of hope and courage. 

Using a combination of Chinese iconography throughout the mural, Toronto artist Wenting Li considered the histories and experiences of the community members in Toronto’s Chinatown. Common across China and Asia, the red-crested crane is often used as a symbol of luck and longevity. Here, a trio of cranes fly forward, carrying a through-line of intergenerational migration and community toward a shared hope for a future where all have equal opportunities to thrive. Alongside the migratory figures, lotus flowers grow past difficult terrain at the bottom of the pond and upward into the space of air. 

A digital rendering of Wenting Li's Hope In Chinatown mural that features three cranes, lotus flowers and small characters.

“It’s really meaningful to be able to paint something that is both a tribute and a hopeful intention for the Chinatown community. So far it’s very special to hear from people how the mural fits into their lives – I really want for it to form part of the fabric of a welcoming, engaged, flourishing, Chinatown.”

– Wenting Li 李文婷 , Artist

Video Credit: Selina McCallum

During the design implementation period, Wenting and project partner Toronto Chinatown BIA gathered feedback from the community on social media to shape the final mural design. Through two prompts featured on the STEPS Instagram, approximately 28 community members shared their hopes for the community’s future. Wenting also joined STEPS for an Instagram takeover to further engage with audiences and share her experience in creating her largest mural project yet! 

As you dream of the future, what hopes (large and small) do you carry for Chinatown and for our communities?

That while chinatown evolves, it is still centered around the people who make it what it is.

 

 

As you dream of the future, what hopes (large and small) do you carry for Chinatown and for our communities?

For everyone to feel safe and to feel comfortable expressing their culture.

 

 

As you dream of the future, what hopes (large and small) do you carry for Chinatown and for our communities?

That the area continues to be a place where different layered communities connect.

 

 

 

What are 2-3 things you associate with the Toronto Chinatown community with?

Family, culture, traditions 🙂

 

 

 

What are 2-3 things you associate with the Toronto Chinatown community with?

Grocery markets on the streets

 

 

 

What are 2-3 things you associate with the Toronto Chinatown community with?

Hardworking immigrants and refugees

 

 

 

As you dream of the future, what hopes (large and small) do you carry for Chinatown and for our communities?

That while chinatown evolves, it is still centered around the people who make it what it is.

 

 

As you dream of the future, what hopes (large and small) do you carry for Chinatown and for our communities?

For everyone to feel safe and to feel comfortable expressing their culture.

 

 

As you dream of the future, what hopes (large and small) do you carry for Chinatown and for our communities?

That the area continues to be a place where different layered communities connect.

 

 

 

What are 2-3 things you associate with the Toronto Chinatown community with?

Family, culture, traditions 🙂

 

 

 

What are 2-3 things you associate with the Toronto Chinatown community with?

Grocery markets on the streets

 

 

 

What are 2-3 things you associate with the Toronto Chinatown community with?

Hardworking immigrants and refugees

 

 

 

MAIN STREET ART CHALLENGE INNOVATION WINNER

This project was made possible through I HeART Main Street, a STEPS program that began at the beginning of the pandemic to provide Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) across Ontario with placemaking and public art support as part of their main street recovery strategies. Prizes valued at $30,000 are also awarded at the end of the program to recognize exemplary projects engaging Canadian artists and the community. 

As the Innovation Award Winner of the 2020 Main Street Art Challenge presented in partnership with RBC Royal Bank, Chinatown BIA received financial and other support (such as artist fee subsidies) to put towards other COVID recovery initiatives, such as The Hope in Chinatown mural with additional support from Dulux Paints. Chinatown BIA is also part of the 2021 summer round of I HeART Main Street where they have another chance to win monetary prizes for future placemaking initiatives.  

Photo Credit: Selina McCallum

Learn more about STEPS main street recovery services that leverage the power of public art and creative placemaking to foster meaningful business-community relationships and create cultural spaces to attract visitors from near and far.

About Wenting Li 李文婷
Portrait photo of artist Wenting Li standing in front of her mural in Chinatown. It has three giant cranes intertwined with lotus flowers and roots, and carrying multiple human figures. It has colours of yellow, green, teal, red and pink.

Photo Credit: Selina McCallum

Wenting Li is an illustrator, painter and comics-maker born in Sichuan, China and working out of Tkaronto. Wenting is interested in colour and shape, nonlinear storytelling, the subtleties of complementing diversity in story with representation and image, personal and community histories, and tracing curves.

 

The Hope in Chinatown Mural is in partnership with Chinatown BIA and Dulux Paints.

Logos for Canada Healthy Communities Initiative, Government of Canada, Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, and Government of Ontario

It is made possible through STEPS Public Art’s I HeART Main Street program presented in partnership with RBC Royal Bank and the City of Toronto, and generously supported by the Canada Healthy Communities Initiative funded by the Government of Canada, Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, Ontario Trillium Foundation for projects in Peel Region, and funding provided by the Government of Ontario.

Logos for RBC, City of Toronto, Canada Healthy Communities Initiative, Government of Canada, Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, and Province of Ontario through Ontario ReConnect
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