New Zealand


Beijing Olympic sculptures come to Capital

4 October 2007

Beijing Olympic sculptures come to Capital

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The Five Elements *******The Beijing Olympic Games – or at least the 2008 Olympic Landscape Sculpture Contest Exhibition – come to Wellington on Friday 12 October.

The exhibition, in the Michael Fowler Centre’s Renouf Foyer, is free and runs until Monday 15 October. It then goes to Fiji and Chicago.

Inspired by the immortal sculptures of ancient Athens, the Beijing Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (BOCOG) organised an international competition in 2005. Artists from around the world were invited to submit their sculpture designs, depicting some aspect of the Olympic Games or the Olympic Movement. More than 2000 entries from 90 countries were received.

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Colossus the Olympic*******

In 2006 the exhibition was formed after a panel of judges selected their 110 favourite pieces. After its tour to major cities with an Olympic connection, the judges will award 29 of these sculptures with gold, silver and bronze medals. They will be shown at various Beijing sites during next year’s Games.

Derek Fry, Wellington City Council’s Director of City Services and Events, says Wellington is fortunate to host the exhibition. “We’d like to thank the Beijing Organising Committee and the New Zealand Olympic Committee for helping bring us this unique exhibition. These works are a visual treat, and convey the Olympic spirit.”

>From the earthy energy of The Five Elements to the gravitas of Colossus the Olympic, the works will impress people. Finely wrought in high-quality materials such as copper and bronze, the sculptures have a substantial heft (weighing on average more than 50kg) and presence. In various styles, they are full of imagination, demonstrating the themes of peace, friendship, competition, harmony and progress.

Pierre de Coubertin founded the modern Olympic Movement in 1894, recognising the value that sport could play in developing the “Body, Will and Mind”. Cultural activities and competitions have remained an integral part of the Olympic Movement and, in particular, art with an Olympic dimension has been exhibited at Olympic Games since 1912.

Scoop/Welllington City Councel 

(Lausanne, Sept. 21) – A sporting and Olympic spirit is currently making its way through the continents, thanks to an exhibition of 110 Olympic sculptures for the 2008 Beijing Games. On an international tour since June 2007, this exhibition aims to promote the activities linked to the Olympic Games and strengthen cultural links, thus showing the world a new cultural image of China.A successful worldwide contest These sculptures are part of a vast programme entitled the “Collected 2008 Olympic Games-themed Landscape Sculptures Contest”, which is being organised at the initiative of organisations such as the Beijing Games Organising Committee (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 shortlisted works were identified, then reproduced with the appropriate materials (bronze, stainless steel, aluminium, etc.) in order to be able to open several exhibitions simultaneously in China and abroad.  Bringing Olympic spirit from Beijing …..Inspired by the sculptures of ancient Athens, the Beijing Olympic Landscape Sculpture Exhibition brings images of the Olympic Movement to the world, visiting cities from the five continents. Each sculpture also reflects the essence and the universal values of the Olympic spirit – unity, friendship, progress, harmony, participation and dreams. After a nation-wide circuit tour beginning on Olympic Day – 23 June – this year in Beijing, the exhibition started its international kick-off in London, host city of the following edition of Olympic Games in 2012, then travelling to cities that have already hosted the Games, such as Athens, Seoul, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Barcelona and Sydney, passing through other cities like New York, Dubai, Wellington, and the Olympic Capital, Lausanne, with a stay in the Olympic Museum.  …. to Gisborne where the sun first risesThe magic of the Olympic Games has also been spread over the small city of Gisborne, located on the East Coast of New Zealand. This city is known throughout the world as the first city in the world to see the sun rise. For three weeks, the sculptures have been displayed at the convergence of three rivers which flow into the great Moananui a Kiwa which, in turn, flows into all the other oceans of the world. On this subject, Shien Joe, BOCOG’s exhibition organiser says, “this is very good feng shui and will help bring good luck for both the exhibition and the Beijing Olympic Games, now less than a year away”. And what better symbol to represent the main theme of the 2008 Beijing Games: ‘One World, One Dream’.  29 sculptures for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad

During this international tour, visitors will not only have the chance to admire magnificent sculptures, but also to vote for their favourite one. These votes, together with those of a committee of art experts, will determine, at the end of 2007, the best 29 (symbolising the Games of the XXIX Olympiad) of the 110 sculptures, to be awarded gold, silver, and bronze medals. The winning sculptures will be then displayed around the Olympic venues in Beijing.

International Olympic Committee  

(Gisborne, Sept. 13) – VIEWERS of the Beijing Olympic Sculpture Exhibition can vote for their three favourite sculptures and have a chance to win a 20-minute scenic flight over the district and a priceless commemorative small sculpture.

The flight is part of a $3000 Eastland Odyssey prize package that Gisborne’s 90.9 ZGFM is offering as the 110 sculptures from international artists display in the Rose Garden reserve.

The prize package includes trips for four people on vintage steam train Wa165 and the Takitimu tug, 12 months free admission to the Olympic Pool, free admission to Morere Hot Springs, guided tours of Tairawhiti Museum and Toihoukura, dinner and mini-golf vouchers and a book featuring the Olympic sculptures.

Radio Network manager Darryl Monteith says a priceless small sculpture has been donated as part of the prize.

The competition uses a public vote system wherever the sculptures are exhibited.

“We hope people will enter the spirit of the competition by interacting with the sculptures and even becoming Olympic art critics,” said Mr Monteith.

The competition offers gold, silver and bronze prizes for the people whose selections match those of the judges’ panel, comprising exhibition curator Nick Tupara, Tairawhiti Museum curator Jolene Douglas and Mayor Meng Foon.

Winning entries will be drawn live on the Breakfast programme on October 3.

Millions of people have cast votes for their favourite sculptures as the exhibition has travelled the world. These votes, together with those of a committee of art review experts, will determine the best 29 of the 110 sculptures to be awarded gold, silver, and bronze medals. Outstanding sculptures will be displayed around the Beijing Olympic competition venues in 2008.

Gisborne Herald

Olympic Landscape Sculpture Exhibition held in New Zealand
Olympic Landscape Sculpture Exhibition (Photo credit: Getty Images)
(BEIJING, September 9) — The Beijing 2008 Olympic Landscape Sculpture Exhibition was held at Gisborne, New Zealand last Friday.

The stay in New Zealand for the world circuit exhibition is the first leg of exhibition on the southern hemisphere.

As a part of the 2008 Olympic Landscape Sculpture Design Contest International Tour, the three—year exhibition initiated on August 8, 2005 has received a heated reponse by the global artists.

The exhibition delivers important information about the Olympics, emphasizing that the Olympics are borderless and belong to all the cities and nations of the world.

Among a total of 2,450 sculptures submitted from 82 countries, 386 were finally nominated and 290 excellent pieces were confirmed.

The exhibition made a nation-wide circuit tour beginning June 23 this year from Beijing and its international leg kicked off in London, the United Kindom.

Before Gisborne, it had travelled to Seoul, Los Angels and Rome.

The international trip of the exhibition will also cover Wellington, Lausanne, Barcelonaand Sydney.

The free exhibition will last for three weeks in Gisborne.

Olympic Landscape Sculpture Exhibition held in New Zealand
Olympic Landscape Sculpture Exhibition (Photo credit: Getty Images)
Olympic Landscape Sculpture Exhibition held in New Zealand
Olympic Landscape Sculpture Exhibition (Photo credit: Getty Images)
Olympic Landscape Sculpture Exhibition held in New Zealand
Olympic Landscape Sculpture Exhibition (Photo credit: Getty Images)
Olympic Landscape Sculpture Exhibition held in New Zealand
Olympic Landscape Sculpture Exhibition (Photo credit: Getty Images)
Olympic Landscape Sculpture Exhibition held in New Zealand
Olympic Landscape Sculpture Exhibition (Photo credit: Getty Images)

(Gisborne, Sept. 11) – THE spirit of international unity overflowed in Gisborne on Sunday, as members the Beijing Olympic Organising Committee, the Governor General and other dignitaries joined Mayor Meng Foon in launching the Beijing International Landscape Sculpture Exhibition at the start of its Australasian tour.

Despite rainy weather, members of the large Chinese delegation were all moved at being in the first city to see the light.

In a day of celebration, they found they had much in common with the large contingent of tangata whenua who welcomed them. One guest said the Chinese felt empathy with Maori because both cultures were steeped in tradition.

Chinese ambassador to New Zealand Yan Bo Zhao expressed the Chinese Government’s gratitude to Mayor Meng Foon and his councillors for allowing the exhibition to come here. It carried with it the Beijing Olympic theme of one world, one dream, on which to build the future of mankind.

This community had now become part of this ideal. Because Gisborne was the first city in the world to see the sun rise, it would bring luck to the games.

The exhibition was a special one because it symbolised the idea of peace and friendship around the world and its arrival here marked the 35th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and New Zealand.

This relationship had now developed and matured into a fruitful one, including trade, economic co-operation and cultural exchange.

The exhibition was also special because it combined sports with the arts and culture.

Over the next three weeks, New Zealand would have the opportunity to see these outstanding examples of the beauty and art of sport.

Gisborne was the only place in Australasia to host all 110 sculptures.

The exhibition had already attracted millions of viewers in China and around the world.

Its presence here was being conveyed by media to viewers around the world. Hopefully people in China would add Gisborne to their travel plans, he said.

Beijing Olympic Organising committee secretary general Wen Zou said the Mayor had spoken to him about his love for his adopted country but it was not until driving from Auckland to Gisborne that he could understand this passion.

The Olympic Committee had chosen 30 cities around the world in which to promote the Beijing Games, he said.

There were four reasons why Gisborne was one of them.

It was 35 years since the two countries started a diplomatic relationship.

Gisborne was first to greet the sun.

Gisborne was the home of many Maori people with whom the Chinese had a great empathy.

Gisborne had a Mayor of Chinese descent.

He and Australasian project manager Shien Joe acknowledged the Mayor’s passion had been a driving force in bringing the exhibition here.

Mr Foon said the sculptures represented one world and one dream. This message conveyed how we each had a responsibility to respect, love and care for each other in all our achievements.

The sculptures stood at the convergence of three rivers which flowed into the great Moananui a Kiwa which, in turn, flowed into all the other oceans of the world.

Several speakers referred to the significance of New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark and Chinese President Hu Jintao meeting at Apec to discuss a free trade agreement.

It was felt that this echoed the bonds being developed between China and this community.

Marianne Gillingham
Gisborne Herald

(Gisborne, Sept. 9) – For most Kiwis, Gisborne’s Beijing Olympic Sculpture exhibition, which opens today, is the closest they’ll get to the Games.

New Zealand is the first southern hemisphere country to host the exhibition.

The 110 moulded copper, bronze and stainless steel art works symbolising the age of the modern Olympics will be on display for three weeks in Gisborne before heading to Auckland on October 1 and Wellington from October 11-15. “New Zealand was one of the first countries in the world to develop a relationship with China 35 years ago,” said Beijing-based exhibition director and documentary maker Shien Joe, who began organising the New Zealand showing after meeting Gisborne mayor Meng Foon.

Eight members of the Beijing Olympic committee and many local dignitaries were to attend a dawn powhiri today to open the free-to-public outdoor exhibition.

Artists from 90 countries entered a total of 2433 sculptures into a competition offering no financial rewards, but prestige and international exposure.

And while the works are insured for $100 million, in keeping with Olympic tradition the travelling art has no commercial value.

Gisborne artist and curator Nick Tupara says the exhibition, which is the most extensive to tour Australasia, will inspire local artists.

The display features summer and winter sports, and a strong representation of Asian artists give many sculptures facial expressions resembling the famous buried terracotta warriors.

Foon hopes the Gisborne showing will attract national attention.

“This is the closest we’ll get to the Olympics,” he said.

The exhibition will be on display at Tiananmen Square during the Olympics, which open in August 2008. As the exhibition tours, viewers will be invited to submit a vote towards awarding 29 winning artists with medals.

Sunday Star Times

(GISBORNE, Sept. 7) – Olympic spirit flows through Gisborne sculpture exhibition
The spirit of the Olympic movement is being brought to life this weekend as the Beijing Olympic Sculpture Exhibition opens in Gisborne on Sunday.

Hundreds of people are expected for the day’s events but millions more are likely to see and hear coverage over the next few weeks. Gisborne is the first city in the southern hemisphere, and one of only a dozen international cities, to host the exhibition.

The Governor-General, Anand Satyanand, will attend the day’s events as will two China Embassy officials, eight members of the Beijing Olympic organising committee (BOCOG), two from New Zealand Olympic Committee, local Members of Parliament and other dignitaries. Prime Minister Helen Clark was unable to attend but has sent her greetings through a video message to be broadcast on the day.

The dignitaries will be accompanied by a bevy of media including five China News representatives based in New Zealand who, in collaboration with South China TVS, will broadcast live from the events to more than eight million subscribers in the Guangdon province.

The official Opening Ceremony begins at Whangara with a dawn event hosted by Ngati Konohi, followed by a powhiri at Te Poho o Rawiri Marae hosted by Ngati Oneone. The ribbon-cutting ceremony takes place at the site of the exhibition within the Rose Garden reserve next to the Taruheru River.

Olympic fever is brewing in Gisborne with flags raised in the main street and outlying townships, fences up and paving in place to receive the 110 copper, bronze and stainless steel sculptures, representing the work of international artists and portraying aspects of the Olympic movement. The sculptures are being arranged in a koru design.

New Zealand Olympic Committee Secretary General Barry Maister says the exhibition is about excellence, friendship and respect.

“These are the values of the Olympic Movement and we are delighted New Zealanders can share in the Olympic spirit at this open-air exhibition.

“The International Olympic Movement develops and values art and culture to promote excellence and international understanding. Together with sport, art and culture play an important role in inspiring New Zealanders to excel in all areas of their lives.“

The exhibition is an important component of a series of cultural activities organised by the BOCOG ahead of Beijing 2008. The exhibition remains open until 28 September.

Timetable for Sunday 9 September

0545 Dawn ceremony at Whangara (no photography or filming)

0900 Official powhiri at Te Poho o Rawiri

1200 Exhibition open to media for viewing

1245 Media photography/filming with VIPs

1300 Media interviews with VIPs

1700 Official Opening at Rose Gardens

1800 Ribbon cutting

(GISBORNE, Sept. 4) –  It’s all hands on deck this week as Gisborne prepares for the arrival of two containers full of sculptures headed for the Beijing Olympic Sculpture Exhibition.

Over 500 concrete pavers are being positioned, 80 flags hoisted, posters pasted and 210 metres of security fencing installed to ensure all is ready for the arrival of the110 sculptures on Saturday. Then it will be a race against time to have each sculpture inspected by MAF staff, condition reported by art curators and then placed on top of their metal plinth in time for Sunday’s 5pm ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Rose Garden reserve.

Exhibition curator Nick Tupara says staff from Gisborne District Council, Tairawhiti Museum and Toihioukura are working together to display the sculptures in the most aesthetically pleasing way.

“Much time has gone into designing how the sculptures will best sit together. They will form a koru design when viewed from above.

“Each sculpture will sit on its own metal plinth, in which they are shipped, and on charcoal-coloured concrete pavers, kindly donated by Aitkens Concrete for the exhibition’s three week duration.”

Earlier this week (Monday) about 10 Toihoukura students were taught new skills to enable them to better assist with the condition reporting of artworks as they are unpacked from their metal cases. Condition reporting is a requirement of receiving any artwork for display.

“The students took part in a workshop with Tairawhiti Museum curator Jolene Douglas, Toihoukura’s Simon Lardelli and myself in which they learned about digital reporting, what to look for and what to write about in a condition report.”

Reports are again prepared for each artwork during and at the end of the exhibition to ensure they are in the same condition as they arrived.

Most of the designs highlight themes of international unity, dream realisation (in line with the Games’ One World, One Dream slogan) and the prospects of Beijing 2008.

Eighty Olympic-symbol flags will be hoisted around the city and at Matawai, Tolaga Bay and Ruatoria. The 110 pieces in the collection symbolise the 110 years of the modern Olympics.

Gisborne is the first city in the southern hemisphere to host the exhibition which also visited Seoul, Los Angeles, Lausanne and Rome and cities within China.

The exhibition is free to the public and will be open from 10am until 8pm each day from Sunday evening.

Timetable for Sunday 9 September

0600 Dawn ceremony at Whangara (no photography or filming)

0900 Official powhiri at Te Poho o Rawiri

1400 Exhibition open to media for filming/interviews

1700 Official Opening at Rose Gardens

Gisborne District Council

(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.

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