Bright lights for Chinese artists

Updated: 2014-12-30 12:41

By Amy He in New York(China Daily USA)

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Bright lights for Chinese artists

Sculptor Yuan Xikun is featured in an ad running across the ABC Supersign jumbotron in New York's Times Square on Monday. Provided to China Daily

Two Chinese artists are getting a spotlight in "the Crossroads of the World" - New York's Times Square.

As part of the Sino American Friendship Association's (SAFA) annual New Year's festivities in the city and to promote Chinese art and culture, the organization is sponsoring a display of artwork by sculptor Yuan Xikun and painter and calligrapher Luo Guansheng across screens in an area where hundreds of thousands of people, mostly tourists, pass through each day.

ABC-TV's supersign LED screens on the corner of Broadway and 44th Street will show their artwork twice an hour until Jan1, SAFA said on Monday.

"The display of their works demonstrates to the world the Chinese people's hardworking and thriving spirits, and also demonstrates China's beautiful natural landscape. It promotes friendly cultural exchanges between the US and Chinese people, and will prompt Americans to further understand China," SAFA said in a statement.

It marks the first time Chinese artists have been in such a display in Times Square. "The event is taking place close to New Year's with the countdown drawing near, so millions of people will be able to witness it," the organization said.

Yuan was born in Yunnan province, which will be sending a delegation to take part in SAFA's annual New Year's Eve countdown celebration in Times Square. This year's celebration focuses on Yunnan and will feature performances that showcase the province's cultural arts. Recent countdowns sponsored by SAFA have focused on Beijing and Shandong.

Born in 1944, Yuan is an environmentalist whose sculptures of horses will be shown in the Times Square ads to coincide with the impending end of the Year of the Horse. One of his sculptures, Shen Jun, was sent by former President Hu Jintao to Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev as a state gift, and another was sent by President Xi Jinping to South African President Jacob Zuma during Xi's visit in March 2013.

Yuan is a member of the National Standing Committee of the 11th Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and in 2012 was appointed a goodwill ambassador by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. He is also a United Nations environment program patron for arts and environment.

The sculptor is known for taking money earned from the sales of his artwork and donating all of it to environmental agencies. In 2012, he made 2.1 million yuan ($337,365) from an auction and gave it to the World Wildlife Fund to use in marine protection projects, according to Beijing Today.

Luo, born in 1950, is from Shaanxi province. "Luo Guansheng's work combines Chinese and Western styles and is known for his unique depictions about sceneries," SAFA said, making him a good artist to introduce to American audiences.

Luo's work Soul of Autumn Mountains has traveled into space, carried on the Shenzhou X spacecraft.