As the Year of the Rabbit approaches, five giant rabbit sculptures will be publicly displayed across San Francisco for Lunar New Year.
Starting this Saturday, the public can see this art project in five different locations in the city: Chase Center, the Asian Art Museum, Chinatown-Rose Pak Station, Union Square and Lucky Supermarket on Sloat Boulevard.
The project is part of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce’s series of festivities to kick off the Lunar New Year. But unlike the signature Chinatown parade, which has a long tradition, celebrating with zodiac statues is comparatively new.
“It started during the pandemic, and it became so popular,” said Stephanie Mufson, the project’s art director.
Because the parade was canceled in 2021, the Year of the Ox, the chamber decided to produce ox statues and spread them out in different parts of the city so people could celebrate and maintain social distancing. In 2022, Mufson said, it continued the idea with multiple tiger statues.
In the six-decade Chinese zodiac cycle, 2023 is the Year of the Wooden Rabbit. People born in 2023 are said to be peaceful, conflict-averse and prone to being taken advantage of. They’re also adaptable, dependable and open to new ideas.
After the public exhibition concludes on Feb. 5, the five statues will be auctioned off to benefit several Asian American community-based nonprofits, including Gum Moon Women’s Residence, Manilatown Heritage Foundation, RAMS Inc. and Mental Health Association for Chinese Communities.
The chamber also welcomes the public to join the photo contest by posting selfies with the statues on social media to win a prize.
The Year of the Rabbit will start on Jan. 22, and the parade will be held Saturday, Feb. 4.
Han Li can be reached at [email protected]