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Hermann Park Displays Touring Sculptures by Famed Chinese Artist, Human Rights Advocate

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The Houston Arts Alliance presents a series of sculptures by internationally acclaimed Chinese contemporary artist Ai Weiwei titled Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads, on view at Hermann Park from March 3 to June 3.

The display features 12 monumental bronze animal heads to represent each animal on the traditional Chinese zodiac. Each statue is around 10 feet high and weighs approximately 800 pounds. They are in Houston as the centerpiece of a multi-year global touring exhibition.

Ai Weiwei first gained international fame as the artistic consultant to the “Bird’s Nest” National Olympic Stadium at the 2008 Olympic Summer Games held in Beijing. He has since used his prominence to advocate for human rights and free speech through art in his home country, drawing the ire of government authorities.

The figures are oversize recreations of 12 traditional sculptures that adorned the imperial fountain at Yuanming Yuan outside Beijing. They were created in the 18th century and stood until 1860, when French and British troops raided the palace and took the heads as war trophies. Only seven of the heads have ever been recovered, while the whereabouts of the other five remain unknown. The versions of the missing pieces were recreated using paintings of the originals.

The exhibit is free and open to the public. It can be viewed at McGovern Lake, inside of Hermann Park.

For more information please call (713) 970-2152, or visit this website.

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