The Lunar New Year is Sunday, January 22. In China, that will mark the beginning of the Year of the Rabbit. Every year since 1980, China Post has released special commemorative stamps for the occasion, and one of the two designs this year is a blue rabbit with red eyes designed by 99-year-old artist Huang Yongyu (黄永玉). The stamps were officially released on January 5th, in a ceremony that included a mascot character that resembled the blue rabbit.
The reaction in China has been mixed, according to What’s on Weibo. Some on social media see the blue rabbit as monstrous or evil with those red eyes. Others say the eyes are a nod to the surge of COVID-19, indicating that the rabbit has been sick. Many can’t decide if it’s ugly or cute, so they’ve dubbed it “ugly-cute.” The artwork is completely in line with the style of Huang’s other works. Huang himself said that he just wanted to design something that would make people happy. Whether they are happy or not, plenty of people wanted to buy the stamp, which sold out almost immediately and is now a collector’s item. You can’t argue with a viral internet meme. -via Metafilter
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Also: Huang Yongyu was the subject of another controversy in 1974 when his painting of an owl with one eye open was interpreted as critical of China’s Cultural Revolution. Owls do sleep with one eye open. Chairman Mao himself defended Huang, and after the Cultural Revolution was over, the artist was exonerated.