A mere five weeks was all it took for a beautiful mural crafted in Vancouver Chinatown to be defaced by the usual bubble-lettered tagging you see around the city.
The original work called “Fu Lu Shou Xi” was created by Carolyn Wong and it was located at the southeast corner of Main and Pender streets on the Ten Ren Tea & Ginseng Company.
Like so much of Vancouver Chinatown, it’s now vandalized.
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The mural was created to increase cultural awareness in the neighbourhood.
This is what the mural used to look like:
This is what it looks like now:
Lorraine Lowe is the Executive Director of the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden and based on a tweet she put out about the latest incident of vandalism in Chinatown, she sounds deflated.
— Lorraine Lowe (@lorrainelowe_) May 30, 2022
Daily Hive Urbanized spoke to Lowe about the incident and she says it compromises safety for the community.
“The deliberate and senseless vandalism is a symptom of a bigger societal issue we need to address,” she said.
“The graffiti weakens our community, the exact opposite of what this mural stood for. There are marginalized seniors who want to feel safe and respected in their own clean cultural community space.”
On May 20, Vancouver Chinatown dealt with another situation of vandalism, when the gates of the Chinese Cultural Centre and Classical Chinese Gardens were defaced with “Shhh,” seemingly in response to residents and business owners who have been raising their voices against the ongoing vandalism.
It’s hard to imagine that the artist who created the original work of art would feel any differently about feeling disrespected after countless hours were put into creating the mural.
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Daily Hive Urbanized spoke with Adrian Sinclair. He’s the Director of Engagement with the Vancouver Mural Festival (VMF). Sinclair thinks it’s about more than just a random act of vandalism.
“It’s part of a larger systemic challenge in the neighbourhood.”
VMF does a lot of community outreach, and he said that even graffiti artists are saddened by acts of vandalism like this.
He also said that while outrage is understandable, if you really want to make a difference you should head down to Chinatown and support some of the businesses and restaurants, and soak up the culture.
Many murals are created with anti-vandalism coating, and thankfully so was this brand new Vancouver Chinatown mural.
With files from Daniel Chai