Tuesday, April 19, 2016
Cherry Blossom Intruder Bunnies
Five, 23-foot white rabbits have been installed in Civic Center for most of the month of April.
Australian artist Amanda Parer created the public installation in 2014, and since then the bunnies have been traveling the world.
The artist's stated intention is to highlight the environmental devastation rabbits have caused on the continent of Australia after the non-native species were introduced by European immigrants in the 18th century.
On Sunday morning, there was an additional resonance to the art installation as the annual Japanese American Cherry Blossom Festival Parade was assembling on Polk Street before marching to Japantown on Geary Boulevard.
Australia has been famously, historically racist in its immigration policies, doing its best to keep out the Asian hordes surrounding its white, Anglo culture...
...which made the juxtaposition of people dressed in Japanese manga costumes posing in front of the rabbit "intruders" even odder to witness.
In the United States throughout most of the 20th century, Japanese Americans were legislated against as foreign intruders...
...and during World War Two they were sent to concentration camps, including a holding center at what is now the Tanforan Shopping Center in San Bruno (click here for a recent historical account by Gary Kamiya in the SF Chronicle).
The entire concept of what is "native" and what is an "intruder" is a thorny one, depending very much on who is supplying the historical narration.
Particularly in the two Edens that are California and Australia, we are all intruders, except for the aboriginal tribes who were here centuries before other humans.