Edinburgh Illustator Sarah brings artistic twist to Chinese Burns

Edinburgh-based artist Sarah Kwan will be among those enjoying the best of both worlds on Saturday, when Chinese New Year coincides with Burns Night for the first time in 76 years.

Thursday, 23rd January 2020, 7:00 am
Edinburgh-based Scottish-Chinese illustrator Sarh Kwan and her 'East meets West' giftware collection

It’s the perfect pairing for the Scottish-Chinese illustrator, who creates playful, multicultural artwork by blending the two cultures.

Her East meets West range includes the Aye & Brew Tea Set, which places a popular Scottish soft drink in a Chinese tea set, and the Teacake Dim Sum design, with traditional chocolate teacakes sitting in a bamboo basket like Chinese dumplings.

A former pupil of George Watson’s and a graduate of Duncan of Jordanstone Art College, Sarah believes being brought up in the Capital by Chinese parents has given her an “interesting” perspective on what it means to be Scottish.

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“I want to share a fun and light-hearted look at the similarities between Scottish and Chinese culture,” she says. “My work aims to bring people together through humour and art – and what better day to do it than the day we celebrate Burns and Chinese New Year?”

Inspiration for the range – stocked in full at the Red Door Gallery on Victoria Street – came from the recent marriage of two of Sarah’s close friends.

“Tim is Scottish and Lin is Malaysian Chinese, so for their wedding I created some illustrations that drew together the two cultures. It turned out to be the very thing that spurred me on to build my East meets West series,” she explains.

Her unique designs – featured on prints, cards and tea towels – have already caught the eye of locals and visitors to Edinburgh who are looking for gifts with a twist. When not creating her own work, Sarah is busy with clients’ commissions for portraits, food illustrations and murals.

Other stockists of her products, including Bonkers on Hanover Street and Cloud 9 on Easter Road, can be found on her website www.sarah
kwan.co.uk Instagram @sarahkwanartist