Chinese American Service League in Chinatown

Colors and Flowers of Chinatown

Batik and pounded flowers on muslin with fabric accents, collaged on canvas

Participating Artists – Hui Yan Chen, Nancy Yung, Sau Fung Lam, Sook Yin Chan, Li Qing Liu, Yuk Ying Tang, Mee Po Ho Yeung, Kwai Wah Tai, Zhu Yu Chen, Xiu Ying Lin, Zhuo Juan Liang, Xiu Zhen Lan, Wei Fang Lang, Shu Ying Chen, Miao Tse Liu Chen, Sui Ngang Lee, Lian Lian Lin, Choi Ngo SoonChu, Rui Fang Tan, Soen Soen Lay, Peilin Yu, Fanny Chang, Cui Ying Chen, Hui Qing Fang, Pei Yao Huang, Run Mei Liang

Teaching Artist – Elaine Luther

Special thanks to Miko Yu and Sarah for assisting with the workshops and translation.

Senior clients of Chinese American Service League created this art as a reflection of neighborhood exploration. Our group started their workshop by exploring Chinatown, both literally and in terms of color and what it means to us.  Starting with a photo walk, we took photographs to discover the colors of the neighborhood.  Using these colors, we created images with wax on fabric and then dyed the fabric – using a technique called Batik that has been used in China for centuries.

Plant life in Chinatown consists of both landscaping plants and wild flowers. We used landscaping plants and pounded them onto fabric, transferring their pigments.  Working collaboratively; the participants composing a large scale piece and attaching it to canvas.  All of the women in the program immigrated to Chicago, mostly from Southern China, sacrificing much, sometimes everything, to come here and start over.  Despite having had, in some cases, huge losses, their artwork shows a positive outlook.

To finish the piece, the group added red and gold fabric to canvas as borders, adding colors we saw on our photo walk and colors that are important culturally and symbolically.