Chinatown Arts Space (CAS) and Shaftesbury PLC unveiled renowned Singaporean artist Chua Boon Kee’s landmark piece of public art entitled Flowing in Chinatown London on September 18 2014.
CAS worked with Shaftesbury PLC, significant property owners in London’s Chinatown, to commission the SUSTAIN artwork and reinvent the area as a creative hub for Chinese & East Asian arts. 24 international arts curators nominated a longlist of 49 artists, from 14 East Asian countries and diasporas.
Sustainability was chosen as the key theme behind the commission, reflecting both current concerns about climate change (evidenced in the recent IPCC report) and the legacy of London 2012 (the principle of “sustainable development towards one planet”). The panel’s vision for the artwork was an artistic response to this global issue, from an East Asian perspective.
Chua Boon Kee is a renowned Singaporean sculptor who has risen to prominence over the past decade. His work has been commissioned in Singapore, Australia and China, and his smaller calligraphy sculptures are in high demand among private collectors. Chua’s work is influenced by nature and Eastern philosophy, enabling him to create thought-provoking pieces. Flowing continues his celebrated Chinese calligraphy-inspired series, placing it in a central London environment and contrasting it with an urban landscape more accustomed to neon signage and West End lights. Chua will be visiting the UK to attend the sculpture unveiling in Chinatown, and host a Masterclass at Asia House.
David Tse, Creative Director, Chinatown Arts Space commented: “Flowing is inspired by the Chinese proverb Yǐn shuǐ sī yuán – “When you drink water, think of its source”. This is an important idea in East Asian philosophy that reminds us of the values of virtue, gratitude and not forgetting one’s roots. The sculpture combines the free movement of water with the flow of calligraphy, to produce a stunning, contemporary work that embodies sustainability. The piece is forged from stainless steel, providing an instantly recognisable and striking sculpture for the thousands that visit Chinatown and the West End.”
Tom Welton, Director, Shaftesbury PLC added: “The SUSTAIN commission is part of Shaftesbury PLC’s ongoing commitment to support Chinese & East Asian culture. We are very excited about the new sculpture taking up permanent residence in London’s Chinatown. It will complement the existing artwork ‘The Lion’ on Wardour Street, which was the first East Asian sculpture commissioned by Shaftesbury PLC back in 2009. The theme of Sustainability is well chosen, as it really does reflect London’s long-term goal to keep the principle of sustainable development very much front of mind. We are confident that Chua’s piece – along with other innovations in this bustling part of London – will put Chinatown firmly on the map as an arts and creative hub, encouraging more visitors to the area.”