MFA Celebrates Lunar New Year with Celebration of Chinese Art

Lu Shengzhong's Face Maze 006. 2010, cut paper and pencil inscriptions.

By Robin Ngai
BU News Service

While some of us have failed to stick to our New Year’s resolutions, fear not, for a whole new year is already upon us! On February 8, 2016, the Year of the Monkey begins. The Chinese New Year runs on the traditional lunar calendar and falls anywhere from late January to mid February.

Wishes made by MFA visitors tied together on display.

Wishes made by MFA visitors tied together on display.

Institutions all over Boston are holding celebrations to ring in the new year. The Museum of Fine Arts opened their doors to visitors Saturday for a full day of lunar new year activities and performances.

A full spectrum of Asian art was on display, from Chinoiserie – Europe’s recreations of the Chinese art style – to modern day photographers like Hiro, a Japanese artist born and raised in China. There was even modern art, featuring artists such as Lu Shengzhong who creates paper-cutting pieces, presenting Chinese art with a 21st century spin.

The sounds of Syncopasian, an MIT East Asian student a capella group, could be heard through the wings of the museum. Meanwhile, huge lines formed to watch the lion dances performed by Gund Kwok, the only Asian women’s lion dancing troupe in New England.

The wishing station at the MFA's Lunar New Year Celebration.

The wishing station at the MFA’s Lunar New Year Celebration.

Children ran freely through the museum dressed in traditional Chinese outfits and banging newly made Chinese hand drums. There were several craft stations where visitors could make monkey puppets, Chinese hand drums and Korean bok jumoni, a small bag to keep coins and tokens.

A standout at the crafts table was the wishing strips station. Different colored strips representing various feelings were scattered across the table. Black stood for careers and school, blue for peace and relaxation, pink for friendship and red for happiness and success. Visitors could choose a color, write a wish for the new year on the strip, and tie it to all the other strips that were hanging in order to have their wishes come true.

The MFA presented a great mix of all the Asian cultures and the ways that they celebrate the new year. If you missed out on this event, there are still plenty of chances to welcome in the new year in Boston. Check out these events happening in the coming weeks!

Lion Dance Parade in Chinatown
Feb. 14, 11:00 am
Beach Street and other nearby streets in Chinatown

Chinatown Main Street Cultural Village
Feb. 14, noon
China Trade Building at the corner of Boylston and Washington Streets

Chinese Folk Art Workshop – Chinese Mythology Performance
Feb. 20, 4:30 pm

Boston Children’s Museum
Feb. 21, 11:00 am

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