Interview with Chinese Londoner An-Ting Chang, CEO of Chinese Arts Now
London celebrates Chinese New Year in a big way, with an annual Chinatown parade and a cultural festival in Trafalgar Square. For an insight into London’s Chinese side, we’ve interviewed the CEO and artistic director of Chinese Arts Now (CAN), An-Ting Chang.
Just like Christmas, eating is key to Chinese New Year, but the CAN Festival proves that there’s more to the celebrations: ‘Chinatown is very typical, with its lion dance and restaurants, then there’s the Trafalgar Square event, but we want to show the contemporary side to London’s Chinese New Year too – we want to tell modern stories rooted in our heritage,’ explains An-Ting.
An-Ting grew up in Taiwan and moved to London 10 years ago, to study Piano Performance at the Royal Academy of Music. So, the CAN Festival highlights music, as well as films, documentaries, digital arts and drama – in 2019 it included the play Citizens of Nowhere?, which was performed among the tables at Duddell’s restaurant in London Bridge.
A new sculpture commissioned by CAN is being unveiled in early February 2019 outside Leicester Square’s Hippodrome Casino. By Hong Kong’s Otto Li, the 11m-long metal artwork is called Five Peaks and depicts China’s Five Great Mountains (Wu Yue) in a contemporary way. ‘It’s inspired by the soundwaves created by the five peaks – it’s very cool’ says An-Ting.
So, what’s the best way to get a taste of Taiwan in London? ‘I guess our most noticeable influence is all of the bubble tea, but they alter it for English tastes a lot! CoCo on Dean Street [in Soho] looks very authentic.’
Read our list on how to celebrate Chinese New Year 2019 in London and discover more Chinese Londoners in our interview series below:
Ellen Chew, Rasa Sayang restaurant founder
Reverend Paul Lau and Eugene Ling, St Martin-in-the-Fields church
Lucy Mitchell, MD for SeeWoo Oriental Food Specialists
Ruby Wu, Dim Sum Master for Ping Pong