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Hong Kong cultural heritage and artistic talent on show at the 2014 Smithsonian Folklife Festival (with photos)

     Hong Kong's intangible cultural heritage and artistic talent will be on prominent display at this year's Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington DC from June 25 to 29 and July 2 to 6.

     The Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, under the Smithsonian Institution, has commissioned a giant flower plaque, or "fa paai", designed by Zuni Icosahedron (Zuni) for this year's festival as part of its focus on China under the theme "Tradition and the Art of Living".

     The flower plaque - measuring 40.2 metres wide and 10.2m high - is one of the largest structures ever built for such a festival. It is made up of more than 2 000 bamboo poles and wooden logs, as well as dozens of colourfully decorated panels.

     The plaque was designed by leading Hong Kong artist Danny Yung of Zuni and built by craftsmen from the Wing Kei Flower Store Ltd in collaboration with the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority (WKCDA).

     The plaque was inspired by the WKCDA's annual West Kowloon Bamboo Theatre and is a playful combination of traditional and contemporary art blending 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, colourful 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 theatre builders to construct the plaques.

     A government spokesman said today (June 25), "The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is happy for the opportunity to promote Hong Kongˇ¦s cultural heritage and artistic talent at the 2014 Smithsonian Folklife Festival, which is expected to attract about a million visitors from the US and abroad."

     The WKCDA and the Information Services Department have each contributed US$55,000 towards the costs of designing, transporting and constructing the flower plaque for the festival, he added.

     The major funding support for the project was provided by the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, under the Smithsonian Institution.

Ends/Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Issued at HKT 23:00


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