Victoria Buen rang in the Year of the Horse by displaying her award-winning banner design all over Winnipeg’s Chinatown.
The 25-year-old Westwood resident is a second-year graphic design student at Red River College — The Roblin Centre (160 Princess St.). She and her classmates each designed a Year of the Horse banner to submit to the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ’s annual Chinatown Banner Competition. Buen’s design was chosen by a jury of people in the Chinese and arts communities. As winner of the competition, Buen received an $800 honorarium and a plaque from the BIZ.
"I was pretty excited," Buen said about her win. "My parents were pretty excited about it."
Buen added that her family has been actively sharing the news about her winning design all over social media.
Now, 18 banners with Buen’s design are on display in Chinatown for a whole year.
Melanie Andrushko, project co-ordinator for placemaking and transportation for the BIZ, said the jury chose Buen’s design because it included the best of two cultures.
"The jury felt her design was very bold and intricate, and had really strong colours. It was a good combination of Western and Chinese culture, a good mix of representing the diversity of Canada," Andrushko said.
According to the Chinese zodiac, the horse is energetic and active, so Buen captured the spirit of the horse in her banner by making bold colour combinations, like turquoise with dark burgundy red with some gold.
Andrushko said there were 48 submissions this year, and from the 48, the jury narrowed it down to eight entries.
"Victoria’s entry was the consensus among the jury members. It was a fairly easy choice this year," Andrushko said.
Afterwards, the BIZ called Buen to let her know she had won the competition, and she was invited to a Chinese New Year dinner on Feb. 4 at Kum Koon Garden where her design was unveiled.
"There was a really great response from everyone," Andrushko said.
The BIZ has been holding the Chinatown Banner Competition for almost 10 years. The competition is open to the public, but RRC students are repeat contenders as the competition is incorporated into the graphic design syllabus.
"We’ve been working with RRC students for seven to eight years, and they’ve been submitting 40 to 60 designs a year," Andrushko said.
Although the contest is closed, design entries from the competition will be on display at Portage Place Shopping Centre (393 Portage Ave.) until March 5. The public can choose their top three favourites to be entered for a chance to win a prize package worth $100.