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A man visits Shanghai landmarks wearing a pair of angel wings made with rapid antigen test cassettes to celebrate end of the city’s lockdown. Photo: SCMP

Shanghai reopening: man wears ‘angel wings’ made of rapid antigen test kit cassettes and tours city landmarks to celebrate lockdown end

  • An artistic couple have marked the end of Shanghai’s lockdown with a coronavirus-inspired pair of angel wings
  • The couple used rapid antigen test kit cassettes to resemble feathers and then wore the ‘wings’ in a video featuring many of the city’s famous landmarks
A Shanghai couple have created an artwork resembling a pair of angel wings made of 61 rapid antigen test (RAT) cassettes to celebrate the end of the city’s two-month coronavirus lockdown.

A short video made by the couple shows the male artist, surnamed Han, wearing the wings while visiting Shanghai landmarks like the city’s waterfront district, known as the Bund, and the former French Concession district. The video went viral on mainland Chinese social media on Wednesday, the day Shanghai’s lockdown ended.

During the lockdown, the city’s residents were required to do daily RAT tests as well as frequent nucleic acid tests for Covid-19 under strict pandemic prevention measures.

Han and his artist girlfriend Wu said they were inspired to create the wings by the city’s endurance during lockdown. Photo: The Cover

Han said he and his artist girlfriend made the wings with RAT cassettes as the feathers because they wanted to commemorate the city’s experiences over the last two months, news site The Paper reported.

“The song Invisible Wings by Taiwanese singer Angela Zhang popped up in my mind. It is very healing and encouraging,” Han said.

“What’s more, the Mandarin pronunciation for invisible and negative are almost the same. Both are pronounced as yin except in different tones.”

Shanghai reopening: commuters, shoppers and revellers

Han said the angel wings idea was also inspired by Shanghai’s lockdown ending on June 1, which is also Children’s Day.

“We hope this delightful and youthful artwork inspires the public to keep their inner child alive and maintain a positive attitude towards life,” said Han.

Han’s girlfriend, surnamed Wu, said she didn’t mean to create something “profound”, she just wanted to make something “amusing” so that they could hang it on the wall in their home as a memento.

“Both of us are very excited and happy about the lockdown ending,” she said. “Even after the city’s predicament over these last two months, we still deeply love this city.”

Shanghai celebrated its reopening after months of lockdown on June 1. Photo: The Cover

But for many people, their RAT cassette wings are a painful reminder of the city’s ordeal.

“Seeing them brought tears to my eyes. The past two months were too tough for us,” wrote one person on Douyin.

“These RAT cassettes are not something to give us joy,” another person commented.

Hours before the official lockdown ended, many residents across the city held celebrations, including outdoor concerts in public squares and fireworks shows in suburban areas. Some people just shouted repeatedly into the night air: “The lockdown is over!”

Some traffic overpasses became clogged with cars as people celebrated their new-found freedom of movement by driving to the Bund and nearby Nanjing East Road, one of Shanghai’s most famous shopping strips.