August 2007

(GISBORNE, 31 August)  –  Gisborne will celebrate the arrival of the Beijing Olympic Sculpture Exhibition with an Opening Ceremony in three different locations.

Fittingly, for the first city in the world to see the sun rise, the celebrations begin with a dawn ceremony on Sunday, 9 September at Whangara featuring a showpiece sculpture and New Zealand’s current kapa haka champions Whangara mai Tawhiti. Many members of this group are descendants of famous ancestor and whale rider Paikea who provided inspiration for the Whale Rider movie based on the work of Gisborne-born writer Witi Ihimaera.

The group will accompany Beijing Olympic organising committee delegates to the official powhiri at the Te Poho o Rawiri Marae, New Zealand’s largest carved meeting house on its opening in 1930. The ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place late afternoon at the exhibition site itself, in the Rose Garden park next to the Taruheru River.

Exhibition curator Nick Tupara, an artist and Maori liaison officer for Gisborne District Council, is excited by the fusion of cultures and furthering of relationships.

“Gisborne and Whangara have had an ongoing relationship with New Zealand’s Olympic and Commonwealth Games efforts.”

Whangara mai Tawhiti kapa haka group leader Derek Lardelli, a renowned ta moko artist, designed the fern motif for the 2006 New Zealand Commonwealth Games team and, as part of Gisborne’s Toihoukura Maori arts programme, the silver fern building drops at the 2004 Athens Olympics. Whangara mai Tawhiti are tipped to be New Zealand’s ambassadors to the Beijing Olympics.

“The quality and scale of the 110-sculpture collection makes it the most extensive sculptural exhibition to come to New Zealand and possibly Australasia,“ Mr Tupara says.

“This will be inspiring for our up-and-coming artists, arts community and interested viewers. The variety of the exhibition pieces is stunning and offers something for everyone.”

Viewers get the chance to vote for their favourite sculpture, 29 of which will then be awarded gold, silver and bronze medals.

Gisborne is the first city in the Southern Hemisphere to host the exhibition.

Timetable for Sunday 9 September

0630 Dawn ceremony at Whangara

1000 Official powhiri at Te Poho o Rawiri

1400 Exhibition open to media for filming/interviews

1700 Official Opening at Rose Gardens


 WELLINGTON, Aug. 29 (Xinhua) — New Zealand’s north coastal city Gisborne is to become the first city in the Southern Hemisphere to host the Beijing Olympic Sculptures Exhibition.    The 110-piece exhibition, regarded as an ambassador for the 2008 Olympics, will be displayed for three weeks from Sept. 9 in city gardens beside Gisborne’s Taruheru River.

    Same exhibition has already attracted 100 million viewers in 13 Chinese cities and in London, Seoul, Los Angeles and Rome.

    Gisborne’s status as the first city in the world to see the sunrise and the proximity of the exhibition site to the confluence of three rivers helped seal the decision.

Olympic Sculptures Here Next Week
by Marianne Gillingham
Wednesday, 29 August, 2007

OLYMPIC Games fever is about to descend on Gisborne as the city gets ready to join London, Los Angeles, Rome, Barcelona, Seoul and Hong Kong as a destination for the Beijing sculpture exhibition.

The other host cities are either former Olympic Games hosts, sister cities to Beijing or have significant ties with China.

Although Gisborne has a Chinese Mayor, it was chosen because it is the first city in the world to see the sun.

Australasian project manager Shien Joe said this made it an auspicious place in the eyes of the Chinese — so auspicious that Paris missed out on hosting the display.

Key members of the Beijing Olympics Games organising committee will accompany it here.
The exhibition would spend three weeks in Gisborne, before going to Auckland and Wellington for three days each, Ms Joe said.

She was in Gisborne yesterday to meet with those involved in organising the exhibition here, which is expected to attract visitors from throughout the country.

They include representatives of Whangara Mai Tawhiti, who will hold a dawn ceremony at Whangara, and representatives of Te Poho-o-Rawiri, who will host a powhiri.

Others involved include Tourism Eastland, Heart of Gisborne, the Maori Wardens and many other organisations in what is shaping up to be a community effort.

With several sponsors indicating support, Gisborne District Council is being asked to underwrite only $15,000 for the event.

Organisations like Oceanbridge, Olsens Shipping and MAF are supporting the council in meeting Customs and quarantine requirements.

The 110 sculptures and their display units will come in two large containers.

Each of the display units is mounted on lockable wheels, to make them easier to set up and dismantle. The sculptures weigh up to 285kg each. They have been commissioned from throughout the world.

The project started in 2005 when Beijing Olympics organisers discovered the immortal legacy the original Olympics Games organisers had left in the form of sculptures.

Sculptors from around the world sent 3000 entries, some of which were “breath-taking”.
Of these, the top 110 were selected. The exhibition they formed toured China, Hong Kong and Macau and is now touring about 12 cities worldwide, one of them Gisborne.

It had not been scheduled to come to Oceania at all, but thanks to strong support from Mayor Meng Foon to bring it here, the rest of Australasia would have the opportunity to see it.

As a result of the Mayor’s efforts, Gisborne would also feature strongly in the official Beijing sculpture book published for the exhibition collection.

“This will be Gisborne’s closest connection with the Olympic Games since Grant Bramwell and Alan Thompson won three gold medals at the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984,” said Mr Foon.
To help Gisborne prepare for the occasion, Ms Joe yesterday presented large flags to be hung in Gladstone Road and in the main rural settlements to the north and east of Gisborne, on behalf of the Olympic Games organising committee.

The committee also provided some banners with the theme for the Beijing Games — “one world, one dream” — which are available for use at events associated with the exhibition.

The sculptures are expected on September 8. The free exhibition will open the following day.

They will be displayed in a fenced enclosure around the civic rose gardens, alongside the Taruheru River.

The 2008 Beijing Olympic Landscape Sculpture Traveling Exhibiton, comprised of one hundred ten sculptures with a sporting and Olympic connotation, is now on tour internationally.  Since its debut on “International Olympic Day,” June 23, 2007, in the Wangfujing area of Beijing, the Olympic Landscape Sculpture Traveling exhibition has toured Tianjin, Xiamen, Changchun, Lanzhou, Zi’an, Zhengahou, Taiyuan, Shijiazhuang, Nanning, Ningbo, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Macao, Hongkong, London, Seoul and Los Angeles.  It is currently spectactularly displayed in Lausanne, Switzerland, decorating the Olylmpic Museum’s park, entrance, hall and terraces.

This exhibition is part of a vast program entitled the “Collected 2008 Olympic Games Themed Landscape Sculpture Contest,” which is being organized at the initiative of organizations such as the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG). The first stage of the project was to collect “Landscape Sculptures” from around the globe.  With the participation of 90 countries, 290 projects from the five continents were selected from a total of 2,433.

The short-listed works were identified, then reproduced with the appropriate materials (bronze, stainless steel, aluminum, etc.) in order to be able to open several exhibitions simultaneously.  The aim of this is to promote the activities linked to the Olympic Games and strengthen cultural links, thus showing the world a new cultural image of China.

One hundred ten designs were chosen from the 290 finalists to be part of the International Tour and are documented in a beautiful publication:  OLYMPICS AND SCULPTURE, Catalog of Works for the 2008 Olympic Landscape Sculpture International Tour Exhibition.”

At the close of the exhibition in Lausanne, it will move on to Rome, Italy.  The U.S. Tour is expected to travel to theUnited Nations in New York for an exhibtion in late 2007.  The third edition of this tour is in Beijing, where it was featured at the China Millenium Monument for the grand festivities associated with the one year countdown to the August 8, 2008 opening of the 29th Olympiad.

The International Tour will continue through the end of 2007, culminating with the selction of 29 designs for realization in Olympic venues and the award of 29 Olympic medals.

21 August 2007

Caption for DSC01800: Academy President and CEO Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich (l) and artist Yuan Xikun (r) stand in front of Xikun’s sculpture of International OLympic Committee Honorary President for Life Juan Antonio Samaranch.

Yuan has also created over 100 sculptures of leaders from around the world to promote culture in China including Samaranch (r) and Pierre De Coubertin the Founder of the Modern Olympics.

(DAPHNE, Aug. 21) – Chinese sculptor Yuan Xikun has been named the United States Sports Academy’s Sports Artist of the Year 2008 in the sculpture category. The Academy will host an art show to honor Xikun at the Jintai Art Museum in Bejing, China prior to the 2008 Olympic Games on 7 August.

“I am extremely honored to receive this award from the prestigious United States Sports Academy,” said Xikun. “This honor will motivate me to continue creating sculptures that unite cultures through sports.”

Known as a portrait diplomat, Xikun has depicted more than 200 heads of international organizations, including face-to-face renderings of political and social celebrities such as former United Nation Secretary General Kofi Annan, former United States President Bill Clinton, Cuban President Fidel Castro, former South African President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, and International Olympic Committee Honorary Life President Juan Antonio Samaranch.

Following the announcement that China would host the 2008 Olympics, Xikun launched a project titled the 2008 Olympic Landscape Sculpture Designs Contest. The contest in his words would, “Make the Olympics more vivid and popularized in China.” “Mr. Yuan Xikun’s important contributions have combined art and the Olympics,” said Samaranch. “It is significant for sports to promote the development of culture.”

Born into a well-known family of traditional Chinese painters, Xikun built the Jintai Art Museum as a venue of frequent gathering for political visitors to China. It is a platform for bringing together Western and Chinese cultures. The museum features unique five-pyramidal roofs that symbolize metal, wood, water, fire and earth. “Painting infuses sculpture with new blood and sculpture is a succession of painting,” believes Xikun. His sculptures resonate with classicism, romanticism and realism.

In respect to the traditions of China, as the host the 2008 Olympic Games, the Academy is expanding its traditional Sport Artist of the Year award to include a painter, a calligrapher and a sculptor.

So that children in China would understand the contributions of people from other cultures, Xikun designed bronzes of some of the world’s greatest scientific and cultural minds including Albert Einstein, Aristotle, Darwin, Louis Pasteur, Ghandi, Abraham Lincoln, Johann Mendel and Sigmund Freud.

The Academy, home to the American Sport Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA), houses what is believed to be the largest collection of fine sport art in the world. It is dedicated to the collection, display and preservation of sports history, art and literature. Since its inception, ASAMA has recognized the importance of the cultural connectivity of athletic competition and artistic expression.

The Sport Artist of the Year award has been presented by ASAMA for a quarter of a century as part of the Academy’s Awards of Sport program, honoring the artist and the athlete. Past recipients include Ernie Barnes, Charles Billich, Hans Erni, LeRoy Neiman and Mina Papatheodorou-Valyraki. To learn more, visit

This is embodied by the Sport Artist of the Year, which is presented annually to an individual who captures the spirit and life of sport so that future generations can relive the drama of today’s competition. Recipients have used a variety of art media including oil and canvas, photography, illustrations, sculpture and assemblage to depict the breadth and scope of both the agony and ecstasy in sport.

Olympics landscape sculpture exhibition opens
Scene of the opening ceremony
Olympics landscape sculpture exhibition opens
A speech by BOCOG Cultural Activities Director, Zhao Dongming
(BEIJING, August 5) — The 2008 Olympic Landscape Sculptures Traveling Exhibition and Visual Report, which will run for five days at the China Millenium Monument, from August 5-11, 2007, will serve to promote the Olympic spirit and exemplify a People’s Olympics. The exhibition visual report will show visual proof of the exhibition’s success in China.

The Cultural Activities Department The Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG), China Artists Association, and other organizations are sponsoring the exhibition and visual report as part of the activities of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games one-year countdown celebrations.

An Olympic-themed cultural activity three years in the making, the search for the exhibition’s Olympic sculpture pieces officially began on August 8, 2005. By March 1, 2006, the organizing committee for the sculpture contest had received 2,450 submissions from artists in 82 countries. The wide-ranging designs creatively expressed the Olympic spirit and Olympic concepts in the form of high-caliber sports sculptures.

The collection of works were narrowed down to 386 pieces/groups by a committee of 17 experts from China, English, Germany, Russia, Italy, Australia, the United States, Korea and other countries from March 7-8, 2006. From the 386 sculpture pieces/groups, the final 290 Olympic landscape sculpture pieces/groups for the exhibition were finally selected.

On June 23, 20007 — International Olympic Day — the 2008 Olympic Land Sculptures Traveling Exhibition opened in the Wangfujing area of Beijing. Since then, the exhibition has traveled to Tianjin, Xiamen, Changchun, Lanzhou, Xi’an, Zhengzhou, Taiyuan, Shijiazhuang, Nanning, Ningbo, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Macao, Hongkong, and other cities.

The exhibition made its international debut in 2007 in London. As an ambassador for the Olympics, the exhibition has also visited Seoul and Los Angeles and will eventually make its way to Gisborne and Wellington in New Zealand.

The 2008 Olympic Landscape Sculpture Exhibition has received a warm welcome both in China and internationally, with over 100 million visitors.

Exhibition goers can vote for their favorite sculpture pieces/groups. At the end of the exhibition’s tour, the exhibition goers’ votes along with a committee of art review experts will determine the 29 best landscape sculpture pieces/groups, which will be awarded gold, silver, and bronze medals

Some especially outstanding landscape sculpture pieces/groups will be displayed at galleries near the Olympic competition venues. Also, miniature models of some works will be created and used as Olympic gifts.

The 2008 Olympic Landscape Sculptures Traveling Exhibition at the China Millennium Monument is open to the public, free of charge, and will run through December.