Dragons Chasing the Moon

Winter, 2022-2023

Dragons Chasing the Moon © Rémi Hermoso

Dragons Chasing the Moon

This luminous outdoor winter installation expands artist Karen Tam’s longstanding commitment to actively supporting Chinatown’s communities. It brings joy and lightness to the dark winter months and encourages residents and visitors to spend more time in the neighbourhood.

A family of dragons, made up of a multitude of floating panels inspired by traditional Chinese paper cutouts, are entwined with the lampposts on De La Gauchetière Street. The colourful banners combine auspicious and traditional motifs such as tigers, rabbits, dragons and other animals symbolizing biodiversity and the renewal of life. As you walk alongside the dragons, the panels change from pink to yellow to orange to red – colours associated with the Lunar New Year.

The public is taken on a journey of transformation toward a giant “dragon’s head”, at the Sun-Yat Sen Park, where three glowing rings formed by the illuminated panels are suspended overhead. Looking up, visitors see the shapes of a rabbit, cloud and moon, symbolizing the end of the Year of the Tiger and ushering in the Year of the Rabbit, with a hint of the Year of the Dragon in 2024.


"My idea for this installation was to create a suspended and illuminated path of ‘dragons’ on De La Gauchetière in Chinatown, to lead visitors to the three rings or dragon’s ‘head’ in Sun-Yat Sen Park for the Lunar New Year celebrations. It is the winter companion to my Wishing Tree (2021) summer installation that paid homage to the Chinatown community,"

Karen Tam, creator of Dragons Chasing the Moon


An artwork by Karen Tam
Lights conception: Bruno Rafie
Made and installed by: Jack World + Raphaël Brien

A production of the Quartier des Spectacles Partnership and the Marché de Nuit Asiatique.

This installation is presented as part of COP15 with the support of the Government of Canada and the National Arts Centre.


Karen Tam

Karen Tam is a Montréal-based artist and curator whose research focuses on the constructions and imaginations of cultures and communities through her installations in which she recreates Chinese restaurants, karaoke lounges, opium dens, curio shops and other sites of cultural encounters. Since 2000, she has exhibited her work and participated in residencies in North America, Europe, and China, including the Victoria and Albert Museum, He Xiangning Art Museum, and Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. Most recently, she curated the ‘Whose Chinatown?’ exhibition at Griffin Art Projects in 2021, and had solo exhibitions at the Varley Art Gallery and Campbell River Art Gallery, and was included in Manif d'Art 10: La bienniale de Québec in 2022. She has received grants and fellowships from the Canada Council for the Arts, Conseil des arts du Québec, and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Tam was the winner of the Prix Giverny Capital 2021 awarded by the Fondation Giverny pour l'art contemporain, and was a finalist for the 2017 Prix Louis-Comtois, a finalist for the 2016 Prix en art actuel from the Musée national des beaux-arts de Québec, and long-listed for the 2010 and 2016 Sobey Art Awards.

Tam holds a MFA in Sculpture (School of the Art Institute of Chicago) and a PhD in Cultural Studies (Goldsmiths, University of London). She is the Adjunct Curator at Griffin Art Projects, and is a contributor to the Asia Collections outside Asia: Questioning Artefacts, Cultures and Identities in the Museum (2020) publication edited by Iside Carbone and Helen Wang, to Alison Hulme (ed.) book, The Changing Landscape of China's Consumerism (2014) and to John Jung's book, Sweet and Sour: Life in Chinese Family Restaurant (2010). Her work is in museum and corporate collections such as the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal, Collection Hydro-Québec, Collection Royal Bank of Canada, Microsoft Art Collection, and in private collections in Canada, United States, and United Kingdom. She is represented by: Galerie Hugues Charbonneau


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Les moments lumineux du cœur de l’île is downtown Montreal’s collaborative winter project. It is the result of a fruitful collaboration among the Alliance centre-ville partners: the Quartier des Spectacles Partnership, SDC Montréal centre-ville, the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal and the Ville de Montréal, in collaboration with Tourisme Montréal. The initiative is a continuation of a series of summer projects launched in 2020. The winter Moments comprise a variety of outdoor activities organized by the partners and other cultural and economic stakeholders active in the area bounded by Atwater, Sherbrooke and Papineau streets and the St. Lawrence River.  The Moments include a host of original winter activities to be enjoyed outdoors in the downtown core: interactive and luminous installations and experiences, festivals and events, exceptional opportunities to meet talented local artisans, beautifully illuminated public spaces and other delightful surprises. From November to March, the Moments invite Montrealers, visitors and tourists to enjoy the luminous winter wonders of the heart of the island that make Montreal a unique winter destination.

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The Quartier des Spectacles is Montréal’s cultural heart, boasting North America’s most concentrated and diverse group of cultural venues as well as numerous festivals and events. The Quartier also hosts innovative urban installations involving cutting-edge lighting design and immersive environments. The Quartier des Spectacles has become an international showcase for digital public art.

The Quartier des Spectacles Partnership, founded in 2003, is a non-profit organization with more than 85 members active in the district. It is responsible for animating the Quartier des Spectacles by programming cultural activities, managing and animating public spaces, providing distinctive illumination and promoting the Quartier as a must-visit cultural destination. The Partnership benefits from the support of the Ville de Montréal. 


Since 2017, Marché de Nuit Asiatique – Montreal’s Asian night market – has organized events that highlight the local Asian community. The organization’s mission is to support Chinatown merchants by giving them a high-profile platform and contributing to the neighbourhood’s revitalization. Marché de Nuit Asiatique is proud to be part of Chinatown’s economic success.


The National Arts Centre is Canada’s bilingual, multi-disciplinary home for the performing arts. The NAC presents, creates, produces, and co-produces performing arts programming in various streams — the NAC Orchestra, Dance, English Theatre, French Theatre, Indigenous Theatre, and Popular Music and Variety — and nurtures the next generation of artists and audiences from across Canada. The NAC is located in the National Capital Region on the unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinabeg Nation.

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Mélanie Mingotaud | | (514) 582-5272