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Wednesday, January 16 News

Star-studded Chinese New Year celebration set for Saturday

WESTPORT — Renowned concert pianist and artist Frederic Chiu has been performing professionally since he was 14, has played on five continents, in all 50 states and has released 27 recordings of music ranging from Bach to Prokofiev.

On Saturday, in celebration of Chinese New Year, Chiu will do something he has never done before — in his adopted hometown, no less: appear at an event with his artist wife, Jeanine Esposito.

“This is the first time that we’re in the same show together and we’re both very excited about it,” Chiu said.

On Saturday the Organization of Chinese Americans will ring in the Chinese New Year with a wide range of exhibiting local artists and delicious Chinese food at the Westport Women’s Club.

In celebration of the Year of the Rooster, Chiu is set to display his acrylic on canvas painting, “Part-American.” The work is a 4-foot- by-8-foot rendering of a small portion of the American flag magnified.

Born in the United States, Chiu maintains an American identity, his Chinese identity, as well as a French identity from when he lived in France for 12 years. “Part-American” is part of a trilogy of paintings, the others being “Part-Chinese” and “Part-French.”

“I’m very happy to participate in Chinese New Year,” Chiu said. “For me, Chinese New Year is part of the whole new year’s celebration, and it’s the Year of the Rooster. It has been a big part of my upbringing. I feel very good to be participating in this as a Westporter and as a Chinese American.”

Esposito, a sculptor and conceptual artist, will also have her work on display, including a close-up photograph of a rooster sculpture.

Her work has been featured in over 40 juried shows; she has had four solo shows and won several awards, including the Jens Rinsom Sculpture Award, and her work has been featured in the New York Times, as well as in other publications. She maintains a studio at Firing Circuits, an artist community in Norwalk.

Another artist appearing at the event will be fellow Westporter Eric Chiang. Chiang, who grew up in Taiwan, has had his work exhibited at the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts and Queens Museum in New York City, among many others.

One of the three pieces that will be exhibited is “Floral Serenade, a painting of a garden and flowers with musical instruments flying between the flowers. The piece’s reddish-orange color scheme ties back to the Year of the Rooster.

Steven Chin, president of the Organization of Chinese Americans, said this is the first year they are having the new year’s celebration in Westport. Chin is excited to bring the party to Westport.

“We have a lot of things going on. It’s always a big party for us. I want to show the community that we exist. We’re here to help the community and we’re here to help those who don’t have a voice. We want to give back to the community,” Chin said.

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Tickets are $20 for members, $30 for nonmembers and $10 for children under 12. The first session is from noon to 3 p.m. and the second from 4 to 7 p.m. The Westport Women’s Club is at 44 Imperial Ave. in Westport.