Meet all the tiger statues just installed around San Francisco to celebrate the Lunar New Year, as these intricately designed tiger monuments now adorn parks, markets, and museums about the city.
Last year’s canceled Chinese New Year Parade left San Francisco with a sudden invention that may end up being an enduring tradition — Lunar New Year zodiac statues being put up all over town. For the second year in a row, the Chinese Chamber of Commerce of San Francisco has commissioned several artists for a multi-installation Lunar New Year public art display, spanning across San Francisco, this year to ring in the Year of the Tiger.
The project is called Year of the Tiger on Parade, and the above map shows where each of these tigers can be found, plus more information about the artists, and each tiger’s symbolic backstory. This is part of the build-up to the Chinese New Year Festival & Parade (February 19), which you can follow on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for updates. And we've got the images and location of each tiger statue below.
“The public art project featuring zodiac animals ‘on Parade’ is quickly becoming a San Francisco favorite for Bay Area artists and art lovers alike,” Parade Guys owner and creative director Stephanie Mufson (her tiger is below) tells SFist, “It was a wonderful, innovative way to help people celebrate an important holiday during very challenging times, and is a tradition we hope to carry on for many years to come in better times ahead.”
Goldfish and lotus flowers embellish an aqua green/blue background on this tiger, who serves as an entryway centerpiece for the Whole Foods Stonestown that finally opened on January 12.
Several different versions of this Year of the Tiger custom cake are available at that particular Whole Foods’ bakery. SFist confirmed with the Stonestown Whole Foods’ bakery section that these cakes that were sold on Opening Day are still available as custom cakes, exclusively at that bakery.
Harvester Tiger by Deyi (Robin) Zhao
Lucky Supermarket (1515 Sloat Boulevard)
This Lakeshore Plaza Lucky Supermarket tiger is surrounded with visually impressive grocery store display.
Sure, the display is just oranges, prosecco, paper lanterns, and red balloons, but it’s got a definite Chinese New Year moxie happening.
The tiger itself depicts dumplings, candies, and fruit characters, all happy and feeding on a healthy vine. “In the new year, the water tiger will bring plenty of rainfall to California to grow sufficient foods for everyone,” says a statement on this tigers’ website.
Say you saw the work of Yumei Hei, on this tiger, before the acclaimed master of the Chinese art of paper cutting becomes a household name. Her lasercut installations will be ubiquitous all over the Chinatown Central Subway Station, you know, whenever it actually opens.
The red and gold on this Portsmouth Square’s tiger’s stripes spell out characters in real Chinese calligraphy. These messages include the words “Happy New Year,” and according to this tigers’ website, “the symbol for double happiness is on the tiger’s head.”
Voyager Tiger by Yiyang (Vito) Deng
Union Square (Powell and Post Streets)
You'll see pinkish-purple plum blossoms and bamboo branches on this tiger at Union Square. This tiger’s description explains that plum blossoms are “first to bloom in the season, not only symbolize bravery and hope but the five petals represent peace, happiness, smoothness, longevity, and luck.”
Good Fortune Tiger - Deyi (Robin) Zhao
The Chase Center got itself a tiger that struts in Golden State Warriors colors, and has other San Francisco iconography like the Golden Gate Bridge. And in a true nod to San Francisco, the legs of this tiger depict fireworks being lit off.
As was the case last year, the tigers will be auctioned off when their public display period ends February 19, “with net proceeds benefiting our local community non-profits” according to a release. Those nonprofits include the Chinese Community Health Resource Center, the Southeast Asian Youth Development Center, the Chinese Culture Center, the Community Youth Center, and Self-Help for the Elderly.
Images: Joe Kukura, SFist, and Harlan Wong, Chinese Chamber of Commerce