​Visual arts creatively convey Olympic spirit

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“The greatest value of visual arts is the same with that of the Olympic Games,” said Chinese sculptor Zhi Min. His ceramic sculpture named “Zhou” meaning “boat” in Chinese was selected as one of the 10 best public art works in a solicitation campaign launched for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.

​Visual arts creatively convey Olympic spirit

Chinese sculptor Zhi Min speaks in an interview on Feb. 8, 2022. [Photo by Zhang Liying / China.org.cn]

“The Olympic Games are about much more than sports competition — they have the power to unite people. The same is true of visual arts. Thanks to shared emotional responses to artworks, people speaking different languages and with different cultural backgrounds can come together,” Zhi explained in an interview with China.org.cn on Tuesday.

According to the artist, the sculpture “Zhou” is made of thousands of little ceramic tiles, each hand-fired at a temperature of 1,350 degrees Celsius, representing the social cohesion of individuals and the Olympic spirit of unity.

The sculpture is shaped like a small boat, symbolizing “crossing the river in the same boat,” or an olive leaf symbolizing peace and friendship.

​Visual arts creatively convey Olympic spirit

A smaller version of a ceramic sculpture named “Zhou,” one of the 10 best public art works for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, is displayed at the One Art Museum in Beijing, Feb. 8, 2022. [Photo by Zhang Liying / China.org.cn]

Zhi said he spent more than two years creating the work and felt deeply honored to make a contribution to the cultural legacy of the Olympics.

In his eyes, ceramics constitute a material language with Chinese features. “Therefore, we created the sculpture using ceramic to showcase the charm of Chinese culture,” Zhi said.

Considering its shape and implied message, the expert panel of the solicitation campaign decided to place the sculpture on a lake inside the Central Green Forest Park in Tongzhou district, eastern Beijing. A smaller version is also on display at the One Art Museum in Zhongguancun Science Park, Haidian district.

At the opening ceremony of the Winter Games on Feb. 4, the final countdown in the form of the 24 solar terms greatly impressed those watching. Coincidentally, Zhi started to create visual artworks centered around the 24 solar terms five years ago.

​Visual arts creatively convey Olympic spirit

Ceramic sculpture named “Beginning of Spring” (the first of the 24 solar terms) on display at the One Art Museum in Beijing, Feb. 8, 2022. [Photo by Zhang Liying / China.org.cn]

“I’m very interested in the theme. The 24 solar terms embody ancient Chinese people’s outlook on time and space, which still has a significant influence on our lives today,” Zhi said.

The series of ceramic sculptures is also currently on display inside or near the One Art Museum.

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