04 Dec 2019
Street Art: The beating heart of China Town
For a few decades, China Town in Mauritius had lost its charm and liveliness. Discover how the New China Town Foundation used street art to revive this historic neighbourhood of Port Louis and restore the sense of community.
New China Town Foundation
The New Chinatown Foundation was created in February 2018 by Jean-Paul Lam to revitalise and reinvent China Town, part of the Mauritian heritage, by promoting local art, introducing eco-conscious initiatives, and encouraging the local community to take care of its “quartier chinois” or Chinese neighbourhood.
The New China Town Foundation regroups many traders and volunteers from different communities who work together to give a breath of fresh air to China Town in Mauritius.
“To reinvent China Town, we must first reinvent ourselves.”
The New China Town Foundation believes that to “reinvent ourselves”, the younger generations must get involved. Fewer and fewer young people are engaged in social work. Jean-Paul Lam’s “leading by pacing” initiative is about encouraging young people to step out of their comfort zone, to give some of their time to the community, and to feel proud to contribute to something bigger than themselves. After all, they are the future of Mauritius!
The goal is to bring a new spirit and philosophy through waves of innovative and challenging actions, and to make our China Town in Port Louis not only shine in Mauritius, but in the world.
“The dream is to link all the China Towns of the world together.”
For the New China Town Foundation, it’s through street art that these goals will become a reality.
Street art in China Town
Thanks to the New China Town Foundation along with its young volunteers, there are now a dozen of street art frescos around China Town – a fresh new look for this neighborhood of Port Louis!
Passersby will notice the colourful pop-art wall feauring Dr Sun Yat Sen by Seven Chi, the wall painting of Mao, the fusion piece of a Chinese Opera Mask with an African twist by David Lagesse, and even a 3D mural of Bruce Lee or a Heavenly Kungfu Panda wall…
One of the most impressive pieces of art is a massive dragon sculpture made from around 80,000 recycled plastic bottles. Its name is Tangloon and it is a symbol of strength and unity. It measures 108 metres long: the biggest eco-dragon sculpture in Africa!
Street art is a great way for young local artists to express themselves and show their creativity. Street art also allows Mauritians and tourists to discover our local talents, our cultures and our artistic vision.
For those that want to explore China Town and look for those frescos, we found this great street art map of Port Louis.
If street art is not enough to satisfy your hunger for culture, why not join our China Town Food Tour and taste your way through China Town and learn about the Sino-Mauritian culture and history.