At the historical hub of Kuala Lumpur the folklore of ‘The Jade Rabbit’ takes shape as eight local artists interpret the Asian folklore through their artistic styles and mediums, in Hops & Dreams at Kwai Chai Hong
Following the successful run of their Flying Dragon installation during Chinese New Year, a now foreign time before the mandatory law and procedures of SOPs and face masks, Kwai Chai Hong and the team behind it is set to create a positive atmosphere again for Malaysians.
In celebration for the Mid-Autumn Festival on the first of October, the team behind the Bai Chuan Management approached eight local artists of varying artistic mediums and approach to reimagining the story of ‘The Jade Rabbit’ in their own artistic vision.
The ‘Hops and Dreams’ installation is to celebrate the virtue of a mythical character affectionally referred to as ‘The Jade Rabbit’. This popular celestial animal exhibits similar values as our fellow Malaysians in these trying times. Although there are many versions of the story behind the Jade Rabbit, the common characteristics remain. It is a symbol of righteousness, self-sacrifice, loyalty, intelligence, patience, companionship, unity, and love. This is proven in the common spirit of our fellow Malaysians from all walks of life.
As the tale has taken many shapes and interpretations over the years depending on where and who you hear it from. To wrap it in a neat little bow the Jade Rabbit or ‘The Moon Rabbit’ is a hare which lives on the moon with the goddess Chang’e. Generally, the full story of how the rabbit came to live on the moon begins with an immortal being or the ‘Jade Emperor’ disguised as a starving old man came into the forest where the monkey, otter, jackal and rabbit live. As the Monkey offers the man fruits from the trees he climbs, the Otter gathered fish from the water he swims in while the Jackal got a lizard and a pot of milk curd. However, the rabbit only being able to offer grass, which would be dietarily insufficient to the man offers itself by throwing its body to the fire the man had made. Here, rabbit realising he did not burn, the man reveals his true form, moved by the rabbit’s gesture and sacrifice grants the rabbit immortality.
Here are the eight artist’s and their accompanying rabbit:
Habsah Saufi paints wise words onto the body of her rabbit such as “stay safe,” “jangan kesana kesini” and more. The hare also sports sunnies, a face mask and lace choker. Each rabbit is accompanied by a QR code that leads to a dedicated micro-site with a video of the artist speaking further about their respective rabbit. Learn more about Habsah Saufi’s rabbit here.
Farah Mohan took several days to create her beautiful batik masterpiece after researching and reading up about the story of The Jade Rabbit. Listen to her speak about it here.
Drewfunk had a live painting session as he spray-painted different imagery along the body of his rabbit. To hear him speak on the process, click here.
Alice Chang had to either glue and sew every individual bead onto her rabbit. She also applied the principle of yin and yang which can be seen in the mismatched rabbit’s feet to achieve balance. Her rabbit like Habsah’s also has a face mask but one made string of beads in a floral lace pattern. Click here to find out more from Alice.
Master Siow’s rabbit is the only one out of the eight with the abundant carrot, soft fluffy ears and a bow tie. Find out more here.
Shakir’s unique rabbit uses digital mapping that reflects on his rabbit. Shakir shares more here.
Nini Marini weaved her appropriately named rainbow rabbit ‘Trix’ after the cereal from upcycled t-shirts she got from her family. Once she had gone through that she dyed her husband’s t-shirts which were originally white during the recent water shortage. Nini goes into detail here.
Pamela dressed in a matching colour scheme like her rabbit takes the architectural design approach to her rabbit. Inspired by the colours of porcelain dishes. A noteworthy detail is the laser cut phases of the moon cycle on both ears of the rabbit. Pamela shares her story here.
The eight masterpieces will be on display at Kwai Chai Hong from the 18th Sept – 4th Oct 2020 with daily extended opening hours from 9 am to midnight.