Good news, art lovers! The Vancouver Biennale has unveiled the first public art piece to be installed in Vancouver this year, as part of their ‘Open Air Museum’ project. The massive statue is hard to miss, with a central location along the seawall in False Creek North. Here’s some more info on it.
The statue is titled The Proud Youth, and is one of two statues from the Chinese artist Chen Wenling to be installed in Vancouver this year. The title refers to a popular story called (among other English titles) The Smiling, Proud Wanderer, which was published in China during the 1960s. The story follows a carefree orphan as he becomes a master swordsman (this is a heavily truncated summary, but still).
What a perfect day for an installation! #TheProudYouth seems agree – Look at that smile! Huge thanks to all the crews and people who made this possible! #VanBiennale #ChenWenling pic.twitter.com/CODuvvnnyV
— Vancouver Biennale (@Van_Biennale) March 8, 2021
The statue is part of Wenling’s Red Memory series, which all feature happy and playful boys covered entirely in red paint. We’re a little confused though. This statue seems almost exactly the same as another called Smile, which was acquired by the Alibaba group a few years ago. The Biennale even used the same photo for their write-up. So, which statue are we looking at?
That’s where our critique ends though. Sadly, we didn’t take enough art history classes in university to really dive into it. We’re going to have to check it out in person the next time we get the chance.
For more info on this new piece of public art in Vancouver, just click here.