A0011 – Yeh, Legend of the PowerAnimals


Operating under the name Iron Chink Brands, Imin Yeh produced Legend of the PowerAnimals, modeled after the Chinese lunar calendar.  A different PowerAnimal such as the Three-Toed Sloth or the Coqui Frog is assigned to each year, repeating in twelve-year cycles. In the Iron Chink system, 2010 was the year of the Urban Street Pigeon. For a celebration at 18 Reasons in San Francisco, Yeh produced handouts that could be colored in, cut out, and assembled into celebratory hats.  In combination, Yeh’s PowerAnimals form “a new pantheon of cultural mascots,” critiquing oversimplified cultural branding, which produces images of the other that are too readily consumed.  The PowerAnimals, like their traditional counterparts, were commercially printed on restaurant placemats and distributed to Chinese restaurants in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Through a subtle substitution, ideas about authenticity are undermined.