Yuan Xikun is yet another important and exciting Chinese artist who is extremely well known in his home country but also a familiar face in the international context. Xikun recently opened an exhibit in the Maldives' National Art Gallery and also made a stop in New York City last week for his US exhibit "Two to Three Dimensions: Blend of Contemporary Chinese Art and Western Aesthetic," which was co-hosted by The China Institute in America and E.G.G. Strategic Alliance at the CUE Art Foundation.
"Two to Three Dimensions: Blend of Contemporary Chinese Art and Western Aesthetic" features 25 of Xikun's lauded contemporary paintings and sculptures provided by the Yiyuan Society, which is China's largest private museum. Yiyuan Society's mission isn't simply to showcase art by both established and upcoming artists, but also to promote cross-cultural understanding and international exchanges between China and the rest of the world. The museum highlights both art history as well as contemporary art through its myriad interdisciplinary conservation and education programs.
Xikun, distinguished as both an artist as well as environmentalist, speaker, educator and philosopher, has been heavily involved in the progression of China's pollution control and environmental protection issues for decades. In the 1990s he facilitated an important loan between the World Bank, Yunnan province, and the Kunming Municipal government which went towards Dianchi Lake's pollution efforts and has since been active with multidisciplinary approaches to such public campaigns.
Recently at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo, Xikun was recognized by UN Under Secretary-General and Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme Achim Steiner with an award for "UNEP Patron for the Arts and Environment."
Xikun's public education of the environment continues all around the world today. The UNEP in Kenya and Beijing Zoo have installed his works to support their own aims at educating the youth and general public on local environmental issues. He continues to exhibit his multidisciplinary work within both museum and institutional walls as well as the public outdoor sphere -- Xikun's upcoming work is a highly anticipated "sand sculpture" in the Maldives, which will be comprised of sand from five different continents and water from the two Arctic Poles. This will surely be an amazing sight to experience!
Be sure to keep up with Xikun's future projects -- he is a substantial figure in art and the environment, as well as a leading creative mind in China's compelling contemporary culture and soft power.