Chen Dongfan: The Song of Dragon and Flowers on Doyers Street in Chinatown



Chen Dongfan: The Song of Dragon and Flowers on Doyers Street in Chinatown

The Chinatown BID, NYC DOTart, Fou Gallery and ArtBridge have come together to present the street mural Chen Dongfan: The Song of Dragon and Flowers.

As part of the Doyers Street Seasonal Street, which begins on August 1st, Dongfan created a colorful 4,800 square foot mural on Doyers Street, which was once known as the ‘Bloody Angle.’  The mural runs the length of the winding 200 foot-long street, from Bowery to Pell Street, highlighting the historical significance of this tiny street and the history of Asian American immigration to the United States.

In the mural, the artists captures “the soul and spirit of the dragon, as a visual embodiment of the area and the lasting Chinese cultural heritage.”

Beginning at Bowery, looking onto Doyers Street

The artist describes his work as “not about dreams, but rather a kind of reality, a kind of memory, a mental world, the intersection between sensation and illusion, which requires time to find a way in.”  The mural was drawing quite a crowd that indeed did stop and stare, all along the small, winding street, trying to find a way into its meaning ~ and very unsure if they should walk on it or alongside it.

It is interesting to note that the paint used is removable and environmentally friendly.  The images above and below have a view from the Bowery side, looking toward Nom Wah Tea Parlor.

In describing the mural,  the artist notes “Chinatown’s history is full of hardship, but also full of love. Doyers Street is located in Chinatown, intersecting with Pell Street at its very end, as if a flying dragon is winding its way up and resting at the intersection of two streets. I was inspired by the immigrant experience and how they perceive this neighborhood as home. Thus, I believe that dragon, both from its visual form and the cultural meaning, can best represent the area. Instead of depicting the form of the dragon on the street, I choose to capture the soul and spirit of this mythical animal, as a visual embodiment of the lasting Chinese cultural heritage.”

Below are a few more images taken on our stroll along Doyers Street.

Above, outside Nom Wah Tea Parlor, 13 Doyers Street, opened in 1927

On Doyers Street, facing Pell Street
Corner of Doyers Street & Pell Street

Chen Dongfan: The Song of Dragon and Flowers is a temporary public car-free space provided by the Chinatown BID, and NYC DOT. The colorful street mural will be on view to November 1st.  Opening Reception will be held on August 1st, with a time TBA.

Chen Dongfan currently lives in New York and Hangzhou.

More on NYC DOT Art ~ including the recently painted Urban Garden in the Garment District.