Posted by: groundsforsculpture | February 13, 2010

Commemorating Sculptures for Peace and Friendship

"My World" Wong Yong Yue, Li Ming, Seward Johnson, Liu Wei Hong, Li Zhi En (from left to right)

The year 2009 marked the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and U.S. On October 25th there was a ceremony at the Music Hall of Maryland University in Washington D.C. to celebrate this occasion. The 2000 people attending the ceremony included a Chinese delegation of a government official; artists, famous singers and actors; representatives from the Chinese Embassy; U.S. congressmen; and local government officials. Commemorating Sculptures for Peace and Friendship was one of the programs. It was planned and organized by Prof. Zou Wen of Tsinghua University in Beijing with the support of overseas Chinese organizations both in China and U.S.; Chinese sculpture manufacturers; the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Washington D.C.; and the Consulate General of the U.S. in Guangzhou. Sculptures had been selected from works by more than thirty respected and renowned sculptors in both countries. An exchange between The Sculpture Foundation, represented by Johnson Atelier Director Charles Haude, and 30 Years Anniversary China-US Sculpture Committee, China, represented by sculptor Pan Fen, took place at the ceremony.

"Green Branches and Leaves" (pictured) Seward Johnson and Pan Fen

To unveil the sculptures and as an international cultural exchange through sculpture, members of the Chinese delegation visited The Sculpture Foundation and Grounds For Sculpture on October 26th. They also met with Seward Johnson. The commemorating sculpture for peace and friendship donated by China is Green Branches and Leaves which “symbolizes life, friendship, and harmony grown from the earth”* and was created by Pan He (father) and Pan Fen (son). Pan Fen was among the delegates. The sculpture donated by The Sculpture Foundation is ‘My World’ by Seward Johnson. It “shows that the foundation of communication between countries is the communication between people”* and will be installed in Shanghai.

Besides the unveiling, Jon Lash gave a tour of Johnson Atelier to show how Mr. Johnson’s sculptures are created, the application of digital technology to enlarging a model, and the computer controlled machining, etc. Then those delegates who had to hurry to New York took a brief ride with Mr. Johnson and had a glimpse of GFS. The remaining delegates, Prof. and President of Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts Li Ming; Secretary-General of Guangdong International Culture Exchange Centre Liu Wei Hong; and Chief of Culture & Art Exchange in the same organization and also a musician Wang Yong Yue; and Manager of Southern Wind Literature & Art Co. Ltd. Li Zhi En, had about one hour to tour the grounds with me. Just like all other visitors coming to GFS, they took lots of pictures, showed surprise and joy when they spotted the Family Secret, rushed to stand in line with Depression Bread Line for pictures, wowed when Were You Invited? came into view, admired Mr. Johnson’s vision in using his wealth to create this beautiful environment for the enjoyment of ordinary people, and wished that they had had more time to see more. They left in the late afternoon’s colorful autumn sunlight. Everlasting sculptures are indeed perfect for cultural exchange.

* Quoted from Commemorating Sculptures for Peace and Friendship documents.

Acknowledgements – I would like to thank David Steele for the pictures and Lynn Declemente for information of ceremony at Maryland University.

by Grace Hsu

"Green Branches and Leaves" Chinese delegation by the Johnson Atelier with Seward Johnson, Charles Haude, David Miller and Lynn Declemente.


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