With Chinese New Year around the corner, a set of stamps to celebrate the Year of the Pig was jointly issued by the Chinese Cultural Center in Fiji and Fiji Post on February 1st. Starting from 2016, the stamp project has invited different top-notch artists to bridge Chinese and Fijian culture through Chinese Zodiac animals.
This year’s stamps were designed by Xu Lixian and Zhang Tao, who are based in Shenzhen. Being the youngest designers on the project, they vowed to express the understanding of traditional culture and relationship between China and Fiji from the perspective of the younger generation.
Xu Lixian said their goal is to depict traditional culture in a modern way. “We extracted elements from both the tradition of China and Fiji, then delivered them in a modern language that resonates with most people. The design will be meaningless to overseas audiences if we just copy and paste the traditional patterns,” said Xu.
As neither Xu Lixian nor Zhang Tao has been to Fiji before, they spent 70-80 percent of the time on research, during which time they found the two countries’ traditions feature a lot of similarities. “We were surprised that elements from both countries can be bound together naturally and completed the project in only seven days,” said Zhang.
Zhang took a totem in the first stamp as an example. “It combines a hibisus flower, a popular flower in Fiji, and a torch drawn from the Fiji traditional ritual,” he said, “as both elements convey the feelings of hope and happiness, the totem matches perfectly with the color red and the pig figure which to the Chinese represent both the New Year and the wish for happiness.”