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Painting peace from bloody history of Manhattan street

By Hong Xiao | China Daily | Updated: 2018-10-02 09:13
Artist Chen Dongfan's (middle) artwork transforms streets into vibrant public spaces during warm weather when people use them the most.[Photo provided to China Daily]

Artist Chen Dongfan's mission in life is to let more Asian voices be heard through art, so he spent eight days painting an asphalt mural directly onto 445 square meters of Doyers Street in Manhattan's Chinatown.

Early in the 20th century, Doyers Street earned the nickname of the Bloody Angle because of the street gang violence and murders that took place there.

Chen read one description that said residents had to wash the blood off the street with water every morning.

"That's impressive," he said. "Now, after all these years, I'm using color to create art there. It's dramatic, also romantic."

The artwork is called The Song of Dragon and Flowers to pay tribute to the history of Asian-American immigrants.

"Dragon as a visual embodiment of this area and Chinese cultural heritage, and flowers are a symbol of peace, also representing the richness of Chinatown's history," Chen explained.

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