Winnipeg Chinatown 2023-Present

(upcoming) Chinatown Banner Project

*Coming soon*

插画家麦月明(Natalie Mark)以喜悦与热情的心为唐人街创作了精美的艺术挂幅!作品的创作灵感来自天朝大厦的公共花园,一个来自各行各业的人们能够相遇、相识、相聚的地方。这八面挂幅形成了一种视觉上的「花园」,藉此来分享被主流历史所遗忘或忽略的经历与故事,并去实践世代传承的社群教诲。




With joy and enthusiasm, illustrator Natalie Mark has created banners for Chinatown! Their work is inspired by the Dynasty Building’s public garden, a place where people from all walks of life meet. The eight banners are a visual “garden” to share people’s experiences that history has forgotten or ignored, and to honour community teachings.

This artwork is shaped by Natalie’s life-long relationship with the neighbourhood, their parents’ experiences as workers here, and the complex realities of people living in the area. Chinatown is more than stereotypes, more than what you can find in historical documents, and more than land for development. These banners celebrate the whole community to create a complete picture of the neighbourhood.

The Buddhist Treasures you see on these banners — Conch Shell, Victory Banner, Parasol, Lotus Flower, Treasure Vase, Pair of Fish, and Endless Knot — share lessons of compassion. This is similar to the Seven Teachings of Honesty, Humility, Courage, Truth, Wisdom, Respect, and Love. The Seven Teachings act as guiding principles in how we can live alongside one another. These days, many schools in Winnipeg share the Seven Teachings to inspire the next generation toward reconciliation and compassion.

Natalie hopes that visitors, residents, and workers alike enjoy the new banners. Their goal is to thoughtfully show the current Chinatown community. You are invited to explore the food, medicine and tea shops and restaurants, to smile at your neighbours, and to see Chinatown with new eyes.

This public art project is a collaborative initiative between the Winnipeg Arts Council and the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ. The Downtown Winnipeg BIZ promotes, cares and advocates for a vibrant and inclusive downtown where business thrives and people are drawn to live, shop and explore.

Thank you to Dr. Tina Chen, Kwok Ngan, Pauline Leung, Dr. Jiuyong Xie, Yikun Wang, Szu Shen and Sarah Michaelson for sharing your wisdom with us.

I was invited to apply as an artist for a public art initiative for the Chinatown Neighbourhood. Seeing as I have personal/familial roots there as well as specializing in 2D art, I went for it!


1. There was a written application with emphasis on the artist’s relationship to Chinatown. After being chosen, we had to prived concepts to be presented to a committee.

2. Sketches + Personal, archival, and community research. I was contracted to come up with concepts. I Paired the Buddhist Treasures and the Seven Teachings as conceptual bases and then I used themes and experiences from research to create the initial banner concepts. Anyone who knows the area knows that it’s not just a Chinese neighbourhood, so I really wanted to honour the visible members of the community and promote teachings of compassion, as well as honour those forgotten in the archives.

Brainstorming and sketching eventually led to thumbnails:

Fine art/contemporary art spaces are different from commercial art and design spaces in that they ask for “refined sketches”. I think if I left my sketches as is, my chance of getting this work would have been lower. I knew I would be presenting these concepts to mostly non-artists, and put in a bit more effort to make my art easier for the committee to visualize (+ a nice presentation doesn’t hurt!)

3. These were then traced over digitally. In the illustration world, we call this step “linears”. This is the step before “finals” where everything is laid out clearly. The actual banners are about 30x90”, but I just made them big enough to do refined drawings and flats.

4.One banner concept had to be taken to final, so I chose the figure that would have different skin tones, but not be so detailed that I would be expending too much labour if I didn’t get contracted for the next part. Mock up pictured at the top of the page.

As you can tell from my site, I was asked to take my work to final! Find my work in Winnipeg’s Chinatown!