Maple Lane elementary students are creating Chinese New Year lucky charms by blending together elements from many different cultures.
About 75 students worked closely with their teacher Anne Mah over several days to come up with designs for the lucky symbols.
Morton Wu, a Grade 5 student, created a woman’s face by using various cultural symbols. Mah was full of praise for his work: “It’s the face of multiculturalism.”
Wu painted the Eye of Ra from ancient Egyptian mythology as well as Chinese coins for the eyes.
Above the eyes is a horseshoe, which in Irish culture is believed to keep evil spirits out of homes and bring in good fortune.
“Canada is a multicultural country that I can meet people from everywhere. I want to bring different cultures together through the lucky charm,” said Wu, adding that he hopes to make everyone feel welcome and included.
Jiahui Li, another Grade 5 student, chose the Chinese knot and an upside-down Chinese character “Fu” (the phrase sounds identical to the words “Good luck arrives”).
And these are just a few examples.
Another student, who is also an English language learner, combined a Canadian loonie with Chinese cultural elements in his work, according to Mah.
“Children should be congratulated on their work. I am so proud of what they have done and the variety of creativity that they put in their work.
“I was amazed that (there is) so much symbolism behind things that I see and take for granted.”
Mah added students were not just talking about creating pretty symbols in the class, but also understanding the meanings of different cultures.
“Canada is a multicultural society; this project promoted inclusiveness by recognizing that all cultures have different lucky symbols.”
The lucky charm workshop is part of the 2020 LunarFest School Tour, which is operated by the Asian-Canadian Special Events Association (ACSEA), a non-profit organization that aims to create projects in the areas of arts and culture across Canada.
Members from the ACSEA have invited teachers and students from Vancouver and Richmond over the past three weeks to explore lucky charms from different cultures to celebrate the Chinese New Year together.
The most creative and decorative artworks will be displayed at Vancouver Art Gallery Plaza on Jan. 25 and 26 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.