Oversized blossoms, rabbits usher in CNY mood at KL Chinatown laneway


Take a stroll through the whimsical world of Kwai Chai Hong's 'Poetic Spring Garden' installation at KL's Chinatown this Chinese New Year season. Photo: The Star/Low Boon Tat

Pink rabbits are on the move at Kwai Chai Hong in KL’s Chinatown. This is local artist Jaemy C’s installation Wet Hot Spring Thing, welcoming you to Kwai Chai Hong’s immersive Chinese New Year Poetic Spring Garden-themed installation filled with oversized blossoms and foliage tucked within this laneway.

Wet Hot Spring Thing is a bit of an enigma, offering hidden cryptic messages for visitors to discover.

As you navigate the maze of Chinese calligraphy art, flowers and glowing lanterns in this transformed space, you can take a breather on one of the makeshift swings and ponder on this quirky presentation.

This Chinese New Year, Kwai Chai Hong presents a whimsical installation with traditional Chinese Calligraphy in bold, non-conventional representation and over-sized blossoms and foliage tucked within the historic laneway in the heart of Kuala Lumpur Chinatown. Photo: Bai ChuanThis Chinese New Year, Kwai Chai Hong presents a whimsical installation with traditional Chinese Calligraphy in bold, non-conventional representation and over-sized blossoms and foliage tucked within the historic laneway in the heart of Kuala Lumpur Chinatown. Photo: Bai Chuan

“The installation is uniquely ours, striking, bold and unabashedly quirky. It also speaks to the masses who differ in culture and language, but share a common appreciation for the Chinese art form and its festive symbolism.

"I am super excited to collaborate with Kwai Chai Hong as we share a common belief in the long standing and unique values of cultural preservation,” says Jaemy C.

In many ways, this installation also sees the young artist getting his groove back, returning to the joy of creating new art.

"The installation is very much inspired by the emergence of the great water rabbits and the imaginary pool party they would throw to usher in 2023 - packed with pineapple floats, inflatables, water slides and waves of happy positive endorphins.

"It had been a chaotic 2022 where I was getting cyberbullied for a few months because of a very publicised art project, and I really wanted to break out of that 'down-in-the-dumps' energy. This piece symbolises me getting back into the fun of creating again," says Jaemy C.

Jaemy C's Wet Hot Spring Thing has hidden messages for visitors to decipher. Photo: Bai ChuanJaemy C's Wet Hot Spring Thing has hidden messages for visitors to decipher. Photo: Bai Chuan

Cryptic messages, calligraphy art

"I also wanted to keep in line with the 'Poetic Spring Garden' theme by putting in my own version of 'poetry' in the art piece. It is a cheeky mixed-lingo rhyme consisting of Mandarin, Bahasa Malaysia and English. This is my biggest art piece to date. I love the size of it and the space to go wild with my whacky ideas. Watching my 'poetry' calligraphy roll up the 20-feet wall really made me feel things.

"Ideally, I hope my art evokes amusement and some LOL-ish moments when visitors manage to 'decipher' my calligraphy musings about life. I have been experimenting with Oriental calligraphy brush strokes and applying that same method to modern day Roman alphabets, so it would be fun to see the 'ah ha!' moment when they read all the English 'questions' that I’ve paired with Mandarin words symbolic to the Chinese New Year celebration," says Jaemy C.

Zeen Chang, managing partner of Bai Chuan Management, highlights how tradition can be delivered to the younger generation in a familiar vehicle without compromising modernisation, simply by speaking in a universal language of visual arts.

Kwai Chai Hong's 'Poetic Spring Garden' installation boasts giant blossoms and foliage, complemented by Chinese calligraphy art and a rabbit installation by artist Jaemy C. Photo: The Star/Low Boon TatKwai Chai Hong's 'Poetic Spring Garden' installation boasts giant blossoms and foliage, complemented by Chinese calligraphy art and a rabbit installation by artist Jaemy C. Photo: The Star/Low Boon Tat

“Through the concept of Poetic Spring Garden and Jaemy’s brush calligraphy art, our installation tells the story of tradition and heritage, and that traditional things like Chinese calligraphy installations are not old fashioned.

"We can embrace modernity without forsaking tradition, through a common ground connecting the past and the future,” she says.

Project Kwai Chai Hong by Bai Chuan Management features the restoration of the facade of 10 heritage shop houses and rejuvenation of the laneway in between Lorong Panggung and Jalan Petaling.

Past art projects at Kwai Chai Hong include last year’s Beyond The Moonlit Door for Mid-Autumn Festival and Live Wild And Prosper for Chinese New Year.

Kwai Chai Hong is open to the public from 9am to midnight daily. The Poetic Spring Garden art installation, sponsored by Yes 5G, will be available till Feb 12.

"We are entering our first foray into arts and culture and true to the Poetic Spring Garden theme, we want to make Yes 5G more accessible to Malaysians, even at the corners of the heritage streets of Kwai Chai Hong," says Wing K. Lee, CEO of YTL Communications.

For more information, click here.

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