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Hong Kong's cultural heritage, artistic talent featured in Washington, D.C.

The flower plaque showcases Hong Kong's heritage at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival.

A giant flower plaque from Hong Kong greets visitors to the 48th annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington D.C. It is a decorative bamboo structure that celebrates Hong Kong’s cultural heritage and artistic talent.

Commissioned by the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, this giant flower plaque, or “fa paai,” was designed by artist Danny Yung, founder and co-artistic director of Zuni Icosahedron.

Constructed by bamboo craftsmen from Hong Kong’s Wing Kei Flower Store, in collaboration with the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority (WKCDA), the flower plaque is one of the largest structures in festival history, measuring 112 feet wide and 34 feet high. It is made up of more than 2,000 bamboo poles and wooden logs, as well as dozens of colorfully decorated panels.

The plaque was inspired by the WKCDA’s annual West Kowloon Bamboo Theatre and is described as a playful combination of traditional and contemporary art, which blends cultural heritage, collective creativity and artistic exchange.

Flower plaques are a common sight in Hong Kong’s rural villages in the New Territories and outlying islands. They are typically used to celebrate business openings and anniversaries, traditional festivals, clan gatherings and even weddings. The bamboo frames, tin, wire mesh, colorful paper, fabric and plastic that form the flower plaque are modular and reusable and are easily stored and assembled. Craftsmen draw on the related skills of bamboo scaffold workers and ritual bamboo theater builders to construct the plaques.

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is proud to promote Hong Kong’s cultural heritage and artistic talent at the festival, which is expected to attract about 1 million visitors from the U.S. and abroad.

To view interviews with Danny Yung and videos on the making of the fa paai, please visit the website.

 


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