Year of the Dragon, 2024

In February 2023, the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy released a Request for Qualifications seeking an artist or artist team for the creation of a temporary placekeeping artwork in celebration of the Year of the Dragon in 2024. This project aims to honor the thriving community of Boston’s Chinatown through the creation of new, contemporary, and site-responsive public artwork. As an act of placemaking and placekeeping, the artwork will represent and engage with Chinatown’s rich cultural history and cross-generational residents, neighbors, and community.

Former Zodiac Projects

The Greenway Conservancy’s Public Art Program seeks to work towards the goals of the Chinatown community and has supported the annual creation of new public art in the neighborhood since 2015, when our Public Art Program began. Projects have included the luminous canopy Lantern Stories by artist Yu-Wen Wu (2020, 2022), the vibrant VISIONS/VOICES performance series in collaboration with Pao Arts Center (2022), and a series celebrating the Chinese zodiac including artists Cheryl Wing-Zi Wong (2022, tiger), Andy Li (2021, ox), and Risa Puno (2018, dog) as seen in the above images. Zodiac projects have ranged from artworks which represent the form of the animal to conceptual projects that build on the traits and specific modalities associated with a particular zodiac animal.

Artist Finalists & Final Artwork

A community jury convened in March 2023 and selected the following four artist finalists to create a public artwork proposal to celebrate the Year of the Dragon in 2024: Joanna Tam (@joanna_tam); ponnapa prakkamakul (@giftponnapa); Wen-hao Tien (@wenhaotien); and Zhidong Zhang (@zhangzhidong_).

These four finalists will propose projects to activate Auntie Kay & Uncle Frank Chin Park and honor Boston’s thriving Chinatown community. All four artists will visit Chin Park on The Greenway on Friday, April 14 to learn about the space, speak with community members, and begin to visualize their concepts.

The final artwork will be selected by a jury composed of community stakeholders in May 2023, including Chinatown organizational representatives, artists, and community members, who will help ensure that the Artist’s vision and strategies align with and are responsive to community and neighborhood priorities.

Artist Finalist - Ponnapa Prakkamakul

Artworks: “Sampan” *2019), “Where We Belong” (2021), “Sasaki’s Rebranding Fence” (2016), “All About Us” (2021).

  • Ponnapa Prakkamakul is a multidisciplinary artist and landscape architect based in Massachusetts. As a third-generation, ethnically Chinese born in Thailand and first-generation American, she relocated to Hong Kong and then the United States in 2009. Inspired by her multinational background, Ponnapa’s work explores the relationship between humans and their environment, focusing on cultural displacement and a sense of belonging. Using found materials foraged from landscapes and stories collected from local communities, Ponnapa aims to create place-specific artwork that genuinely represents their identity and cultivates a stronger sense of place. Ponnapa earned her Master’s degree in Landscape Architecture with honors from the Rhode Island School of Design, where she received the Lowthorpe Fellowship Award upon graduation. She is part of one of the 2022-2023 Now+There Public Art Accelerator Program cohorts, where she will work with the community in Chinatown and the Leather District. Her past community-engaged projects include Message From a Sidewalk with youth from Urbano Project; Where We Belong with A-VOYCE youth from Asian Community Development Corporation; and Sampan with Chinatown residents through Residence Lab Program organized by Asian Community Development Corporation and the Pao Arts Center. Her work has been featured in the Boston Globe, the Boston Herald, and the Provincetown Banner. Ponnapa is a member of the Kingston Gallery and a registered landscape architect at an interdisciplinary design firm, Sasaki. 

Artist Finalist - Joanna Tam

Artworks: “Visibility Blanket” (Portrait) (2021), “Visibility Blanket” (Backdrop) (2022), “I Just Want a Home” (2022), “I Just Want a Home” (2022).

  • Joanna Tam is a Boston-based interdisciplinary artist and educator. Born and raised in Hong Kong, she came to the U.S> initially to attend university. After doing software programming for over ten years, she decided to study art formally, graduating from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University with an M.F.A. degree in Studio Art.

    Joanna is currently a visiting lecturer at the Massachusetts College of Art and Desigh. She maintains an active studio practice, spending the majority of her non-school days in her studio at the Boston center for the Arts, where she was awarded their Studio Residency. 

    Joanna’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally. Recent solo exhibitions include American Studies 2019 at the Center for American Political Studies at Harvard University, Wasenstraße Story at Chrom VI in Idar-Oberstein, Germany, and Standard Practice at Carol Schlosberg Gallery at Montserrat College of Art. Her projects were awarded best Art Film at the Aesthetica Short Film Festival in York, UK, and Third Prize at the Prix de la Photographie, Paris. She was also the recipient of the 2020 SMFA Traveling Fellowship. Joanna has been awarded artist residencies at the Center for Photography at Woodstock, the Boston Children’s Museum, and the Vermont Studio Center. Her work has appeared in the Boston Globe, the Boston Art Review, Artscope, and Emergency Index.

Artist Finalist - Wen-hao Tien

Artworks: “Home On Our Backs” (2021), “Nomads II” (2019), “I Love Your Grammatical Errors” (2023), “Home On Our Backs” (2021).

  • Born and raised in Taiwan, Wen-hao has been residing alone the Charles River bank, Massachusetts, since 1996. As an interdisciplinary artist, her career also includes teaching, speaking, and community services. Wen-hao’s practice is rooted in her curiosity about self- expression and civic engagement in multicultural societies. Her academic preparations span the fields of biomedical sciences, public health, humanities, and visual art. Besides her studio practices, she is respected for her role in building interdisciplinary Asia Studies communities at Harvard University and Boston University. Her recent solo exhibitions Weed Out, Home on Our Backs, It Speaks for Itself, and I Love Your Grammatical Errors (forthcoming in April 2023) experiment on the interplay between art exhibitions, visual history, and public humanities. Wen-hao teaches at the Art and Design Department of the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, as well as at the Boston University Department of World Languages and Literatures. As the 2020 Artist-in-Residence at Boston’s Pao Art Center, she produced a body of work during a pivotal time in Asian American civic movements on Boston Chinatown local history. Her work is exhibited frequently in the Northeast, presented at the Boston Sculptors Gallery where she is a member, and supported by the generosity of grants. Wen-hao’s project, Weed Out, is featured in a new book, Crossing Boundaries & Confounding Identity: Chinese Women in Literature, Art, and Film, SUNY Press 2023.

Artist Finalist - Zhidong Zhang

Artworks: “Boy with Rooster” (2019), “Confessions of A Mask” (2021), “Some Kind of Queery” (2022), “Gentle Kiss” (2019).

  • Zhidong Zhang (b. Hunan, China) is a photographer currently living and working in Boston. They received an MFA in photography from Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Informed by their upbringing from a conservative Chinese family as a queer person, Zhidong’s work explores the intersection of representation, identity construction, and the role of imagery in contemporary culture.

    Zhidong’s work has been exhibited internationally including SPACE Gallery, Centre régional de la photographie, the Center for Photography at Woodstock, and has appeared in i-D Magazine, The New York Times, The New Yorker, QUEER|ART, Der Greif, BOOOOOOOM,  and among others. They are a recipient of the Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellowship and a finalist for the Robert Giard Grant. They were an artist-in-residence at MASS MoCA, and most recently, a participant at the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture. They are currently an A.I.R at Boston Center for the Arts.