Kingsford bursts into bloom with striking floral artwork
23 August, 2017

Artist Mimi Tong with her bright Chinese Enamelware painting

A little taste of early spring has blossomed on a Kingsford footpath this week, delighting passers-by with a burst of yellow, pink and red.

Mimi Tong’s bright peony and chrysanthemum painting was inspired by the colourful prints featured on all manner of homewares found abundantly in Chinese homes in the 60s, 70s and beyond – and this striking piece is hard to miss, sitting in bright contrast to the surrounding grey pavers on Borrodale Road.

“The items are basically simple tins used for grooming, so there’s a wash basin and there’s an old pitcher for water, but there are also cups and mugs and all sorts of homewares that were mass produced in the mid-century,” she said.

“It was cheap, it was plentiful, it was for everyone, but the beautiful thing is they mass produced these items with these really old-school stencil graphics in the centre and they were always floral decorations.

“You had your classic peony rose or bunch of chrysanthemums, and the Chinese are very heavy into symbolism so all those flowers have botanical symbolism and are also used for festivals.

“I guess I just drew on those motifs, and they’re still around even to this day.”

The painting, Vintage Enamelware, is nestled in the heart of Kingsford’s vibrant dining strip where people of all cultures gather to enjoy some of the best Asian cuisine in Sydney. 

A resident of nearby Kensington, Mimi said the piece was an exciting meeting of her work and personal lives.

The mum of two young children is thrilled her two and four-year-old can visit and engage with her colourful work.

“There’s such a divide between my home life and my work life but at this point they’re starting to kind of collide so it’s quite nice,” she said.

“My kids are now old enough to know what mumma does so it’s nice that they can actually come and see it.”

The five-metre diameter painting took the better part of a week to create, with Mimi first chalking up the outline before tackling a different colour every day to ensure each was thoroughly dry before embarking on the next.

She hopes the community will enjoy her brightly engaging work and feel like part of the painting.

“Going from something that is human scale like a bowl or a plate and then going to big scale, I guess something like that can kind of feel like you’re immersing in it,” she said.

In the coming weeks her work will gain some extra company in the form of a second installation, Surprise Dumplings, set to share the busy walkway on the corner of Borrodale Road and Anzac Parade. The quirky piece will be created by Hand2Land Studios and feature a group of cheeky pandas and seating made from giant chopsticks.  

Vintage Enamelware is the second of seven artworks to be installed at five sites along Anzac Parade in Kingsford and Kensington over the coming months.

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