Chinese New Year on Kensington Street
The lanterns are lit, the incense burnt, the lions set free.
On Saturday 6 February, Kensington Street will embody what the Chinese call “re nao” – an atmosphere abundant with life, wild with pulsing energy, surrounded by the young and old. From 3 – 7PM, a parade of live performances thunders across the cobblestones as our street quakes with uproarious laughter. The Year of the Monkey has arrived.
This is Chinese New Year on Kensington Street.
The heritage street will be draped in red, the fabled colour of luck and protection. What was once hollow and abandoned has now been restored; the Federation buildings blessed with new life by Greencliff Realty and Kensington Street Holdings. Join our street community as we open our terrace doors to a new year of happiness, luck and prosperity!
Twenty Twenty will launch in one such building, an exhibition co-curated by City of Sydney Chinese New Year curator Claudia Chan Shaw and Kensington Contemporary. In The Old Rum Store, twenty Asian artists present a moment of clarity in their lives, defined by the precision of 20:20 vision. Featuring the works of Guan Wei and Adam Chang, the exhibition will open at 12PM with Ms Chan Shaw’s keynote speech, followed by talks from our esteemed artists.
Outside, a menagerie runs rampant.
We break open the festivities with lion dancers. Follow them down the street and into the grooves of Spice Alley, hot on the tails of evil spirits.
Pass by the calligraphy master as he unfurls his parchment, while the fortune teller draws her fateful card. Lay your palms on her table and hold your breath.
Or lend your hand to the workshops offered by some of our Twenty Twenty artists. Hyun Hee Lee guides us through the practice of Korean paper burning. Tracy Luff grows cardboard mandarins in her Mandarin Factory. Kayo Yakoyama folds wearable origami and Jayanto Damanik crafts origami lanterns alongside our games tables: Chinese checkers, mahjong, roulette. Gamble lucky charms with the most formidable players to enter our street.
The air curls with incense smoke, and the falling swords of our martial artists swiftly cleave it in two. Wielding the bo staff, the sabre and a series of fighting demonstrations, the masters of Pak Hok Kung Fu International are poised to tear up the street while the world comes to celebrate. From Mongolia, the Dai nationality and across the Chinese provinces, traditional dance and music arrives. Be caught up in the sweep of fans and traditional dress while the night is softened by an erhu’s ballad, atremble with the notes of the guzheng.
Watch Kensington Street’s culinary masters take to the stage. The chefs behind Bistrot Gavroche, Mekong, Chef’s Gallery and Reynold Poernomo of KOI will carve out a series of food demonstrations, allowing a glimpse into the kitchens behind these famed restaurants.
And no one goes hungry on Chinese New Year.
Food stalls will line Kensington Street, plating up the best of Alex Lee Kitchen, Mekong, Old Jim Kee, and Bistrot Gavroche.
Dine on our Lunar Feasts, presented by the Kopi-Tiam kitchens of Spice Alley. Comprised of eight courses, the Feasts offer a plentiful spread of Asian cuisine as the full moon rises, its curvature symbolising family reunion around the communal table. Feast your senses on a glorious display of food, dished out from the humble hawker eatery into the grandeur of a golden palace.
On a night ruled by heavenly beings and marked by transformation, Creative Director Nicky Ginsberg says,
“We are so thrilled for Kensington Street to be involved in these city-wide Chinese New Year celebrations, which herald happiness, prosperity and above all, cultural unity. For a street in its infancy, we hope this will be a good omen for what’s to come.”
In the Year of the Monkey, Kensington Street is theatrical. It’s ambitious, it’s adventurous. And most importantly: it’s alive.
Come to Chinese New Year on Kensington Street – the whole family will be there.