In celebration of Walt Disney Animation Studios’ new film, “Raya and the Last Dragon,” guests at the Downtown Disney District at the Disneyland Resort can take a photo in front of a new art installation inspired by the film. The artwork was designed by Imagineer Xiao Qing Chen, who was born and raised in Malaysia.
Qing’s intent for the piece is to celebrate differences by respecting, accepting and embracing everyone’s uniqueness and strengths. I had the opportunity to meet with Qing to discuss the artwork, now on display at the westside of the Downtown Disney District. Stop by and see #DisneyRaya in her group hug! Deluxe prints and Art on Demand for Qing’s artwork are now available at WonderGround Gallery.
Q. How did Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon inspire the design of this artwork?
A. I love seeing how Raya, Sisu and the crew come together from different lands for a common quest. With all of their differences, each brings their own unique strength to the table. They choose to be vulnerable with one another, offering support and trust when needed during challenging times.
Q. What is the idea behind the piece?
A. The idea started with my hope for a world where we choose to celebrate differences. As long as we see unfamiliar people as outsiders, we will always live in indifference. This piece is about mutual respect and acceptance.
Q. Did your heritage influence the design?
A. Absolutely. This piece is loosely inspired by the art of Batik, the design of fabric using hot wax, dyes and stamps, commonly used in the Southeast Asian region. The linework in this piece depicts traditional hot wax techniques that isolate areas for vibrant colors. With variations in line weight and touches of imperfections, I hope to evoke the sense of a handmade textile, connecting the characters as a harmonious unit and encouraging us to accept each other’s imperfections.
Q. How does it feel to debut the artwork during Women’s History Month?
A. I am flattered and honored to have the chance to debut this piece during Women’s History Month. I am extremely thankful for the women who have lifted me this far in life, and for the global community that continues to challenge stereotypes and break barriers. I hope to contribute even a little in paving a wider road and opening more doors for future generations. Today and every day, we continue to work towards a more inclusive and empowered world.
Q. What do you hope guests take away from this artwork?
A. I hope it helps everyone choose to embrace differences. I believe if we are willing to take the first step to drop judgements and trust and learn about those around us, we will come together to create a more compassionate future.
You can watch Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon now in theaters or on Disney+ with Premier Access. Additional Fee Required.