Ryan Canvas Art on Dragon Boat Paddles

In a unique blend of art and cultural celebration in Calgary, Canadian artist Ryan Groot has been commissioned by the Sien Lok Society of Calgary to create custom dragon boat paddles for their special New Year’s Gala event on Feb.24th.

This commission, aligning with the Year of the Dragon, offers a vibrant opportunity to celebrate an essential aspect of Chinese heritage. The Sien Lok Society, renowned for its commitment to preserving Chinese culture, presented Ryan with a canvas in the form of dragon boat paddles that allowed him to delve into the symbolic and mythological depth of the dragon—a creature of great significance in the Chinese zodiac.

This article will explore the story and process behind this collaboration.

About The Sien Lok Society

The Sien Lok Society of Calgary, established in 1968, emerged in response to a proposed construction project that threatened Chinatown’s existence.

Its formation by young professionals aimed to preserve Calgary’s historic Chinese district. Sien Lok is dedicated to promoting Chinese Canadian culture and heritage, striving for:

  • Cultural diversity
  • History preservation
  • Community betterment

Their mission encompasses enriching lives and fostering cultural ties, and their vision is focused on cultural preservation activities for those interested in Chinese Canadian culture​.

The Dragon’s Symbolism

Dragon Boat Symbol -Ryan Canvas Art

In Chinese culture, the dragon symbolizes great power, luck, and strength, embodying authority and control over water and weather. Revered as descendants of dragons, emperors embraced this symbol, making the dragon the most celebrated zodiac sign.

Beyond its mythical prowess, the dragon represents good fortune, leadership qualities, and prosperity, deeply ingrained in Chinese traditions through festivals, dances, and the Chinese New Year. It showcases its enduring legacy as a symbol of royalty, success, and cultural heritage.

Continue reading to learn how Canadian artist Ryan Groot worked this message into his commission process.

The Collaboration With Groot Art

This collaboration between Groot Art and the Sien Lok Society showcases the power of art to bridge communities and foster a mutual appreciation for cultural heritage and contemporary artistic expression, especially in the wildly diverse and vibrant city of Calgary!

As these paddles are prepared for auction, they symbolize more than just functional objects; they become ambassadors of cultural celebration, showcasing the dynamic interplay between tradition and modernity.

“Enter the Dragon” – Chinese New Year Gala 2024

This sold-out event is scheduled for February 24, 2024, to celebrate the Year of the Dragon.

This event captures the essence of Chinese New Year festivities, offering a vibrant cultural experience that aligns perfectly with the themes of strength, prosperity, and good fortune symbolized by the dragon in Chinese culture. Along with traditional Chinese cuisine, cocktails, and live performances, attendees can appreciate these commissioned pieces by Groot Art in person at the auction!

Creating Cultural WAVES

Ryan Groot’s custom-painted dragon boat paddles for the Sien Lok Society highlight the transformative potential of art in cultural engagement in our community.

As these original canvases enter water, they carry with them the spirit of the Year of the Dragon, inviting all to reflect on the enduring legacy of cultural symbols and the unifying power of art. Check out his online gallery to see more of Groot’s artistic versatility!


What’s Happening At Groot Art Studio