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 http://www.asama.org/awards/sportartists.

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.