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World-best public art works feted
10.22.2019

World-best public art works feted

A winning public art installation in Sydney titled “Barrangal Dyara” by Australian Jonathan Jones.

The world’s best public art projects were honored in Shanghai yesterday to help inspire and contribute to the city’s creative and cultural development.

The 4th International Award for Public Art ceremony was held at Shanghai University in suburban Baoshan District, with winning artists and 35 nominated public art projects being displayed to local urban planners, artists and citizens.

The awards, initiated in 2011, aim to promote the best practices of public art construction from across the world and enhance urban art and culture standards.

Shanghai has been increasingly focused on the construction of innovative public art for local communities, along the Huangpu River waterfront and at Metro stations, said Jin Jiangbo, deputy dean of the Shanghai Academy of Fine Arts and vice chairman and founder of the Institute for Public Art.

The awards ceremony collects the world’s best practices and opinions for the reference of Shanghai’s development, Jin said, adding it also aims to attract global artists to focus on local public art projects.

Seven winners from Australia, Japan, Pakistan, Belgium, Egypt, Columbia and the US were selected by a global expert panel for this year’s awards.

Among the winners, Australian artist Jonathan Jones created an art installation covering 20,000 square meters to resemble a garden palace burnt in 1882 within the Royal Botanic Garden in Sydney.

Another artwork “Wind Phone” by Japan’s Itaru Sasaki features a telephone booth on the top of a hill in Iwate to commemorate the victims of a devastating tsunami.

A local project from the West Bund in Xuhui District has been selected to enter the final round of competition. The project, “Plants Living in Shanghai,” features a garden with many local plants near the former Shanghai Cement Factory on the waterfront of Xuhui, which is being developed into a theater.

A total of 133 public artworks from six continents have participated in the competition this year. These distinctive cases show the different characteristics and aesthetic sensibilities of people around the world, according to the academy, a sponsor of the event.

Shanghai aims to become an international metropolis of culture and art by 2035, according to the city government’s blueprint. Public art installations have been involved in ongoing urban micro-revamping campaigns for old residential communities, industrial heritage preservation and waterfront development campaigns.

In one eye-catching project, the academy is working along with the Baoshan District government and the Baowu Steel Group to turn the city’s 80-year-old iron-steel manufacturing center into a scenic historical conservation zone and international art park.

The industrial heritage will be largely preserved and incorporated with art and innovation, Jin said. General plans have been completed for the redevelopment of the region. Some classes of the academy will be moved to the former industrial sites to inspire students while contributing to the region’s transformation.

The Wusong area in Baoshan, known as the cradle of China’s modern industry, was home to the renowned Baosteel Group and more than 300 other metal refinery and chemical engineering plants dating back to the 1930s.

As most of the factories have shut down or been relocated due to pollution problems, the 26-square-kilometer site has been planned as Wusong Smart City, a sub-center with new material and hardware industries, scientific and cultural innovation parks, commerce and business facilities, residential communities and waterfront attractions, the Baoshan government said.