Community members show up to restore defaced ‘8 Immortals’ mural in Vancouver’s Chinatown

  • Members of Vancouver’s Chinatown community reportedly lined up on East Georgia Street on April 16 to help restore the “Eight Immortals Crossing the Sea” mural that was defaced last month by graffiti taggers.
  • Artists Sean Cao and Katharine Yi of the Bagua Artist Association organized the mural’s repair as a way to gather people through art and build a sense of community.
  • The mural, which was meticulously painted onto the side of a two-story building of the Liang You Bookstore, was meant to promote cultural redress.
  • The social event was supported by the City of Vancouver’s Chinatown Transformation Team, who is working to revitalize the community and combat anti-Asian racism.

Community members of Vancouver’s Chinatown came together on Saturday to restore the “Eight Immortals Crossing the Sea” mural that was defaced last month by graffiti taggers.

Artists and volunteers lined up on East Georgia Street on Saturday afternoon with paint brushes in hand to cover up the over five-feet-high black letters graffitied across the mural. 

Meticulously painted onto the side of a two-story building of the Liang You Bookstore, the mural was meant to represent the diversity of people throughout Chinatown’s history and to promote cultural redress. The painting was based on a Chinese folktale about eight immortals who use their unique powers to cross the East Sea. 

The vandalism left mural artists Sean Cao and Katharine Yi of the Bagua Artist Association heartbroken. They organized the mural’s repair as a way to gather people through art and build a sense of community.

“Seeing this is very touching and people are so supportive,” Cao told Global News.

“It just means that all of us are standing together to make this community better, and to treasure our public cultural assets,” Yi said.

Terry Hunter, a volunteer who has lived in the neighborhood for 40 years, told CBC News, “When it’s damaged we all feel hurt, we all feel the pain and to be here today to heal the mural is really important. What we need is a sustained, coordinated effort to change the whole attitude about this neighborhood and what can and cannot be done here.”

“There is a sense of ownership, and so that’s where the community effort comes in,” a volunteer identified as “June” told Global News. “We need to turn it into not just being angry. It’s about action.”

The social event was supported by the City of Vancouver’s Chinatown Transformation Team, who is working to revitalize the community and combat anti-Asian racism.

City councilors including Sarah Kirby-Yung, Pete Fry and Lisa Dominato also attended the event. The city has said it will provide more funding to restore murals in Chinatown. 

“In the future when people walk by, they can probably say, ‘Oh hey I contributed to that,’” Yi told Global News. “It becomes everyone’s, not just to the artists. It’s the community’s.”

Featured Image via @baguabagua

 

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