Thu, Apr 12, 2007 - Page 17 News List

'Made in China' statue of US icon King to stand tall in Washington DC 「中國製」美國金恩博士雕像將矗立華府

Lei Yixin puts the finishing touches on a model of a Martin Luther King Jr. statue at his studio in Changsha City of Hunan Province, Mar. 22, 2007.三月二十二日,雷宜鋅在湖南省長沙市的工作室內,對金恩博士雕像模型做最後修飾。


Forty-five years after his "I have a dream" speech, Martin Luther King Jr. will return to the scene as a three-story statue made in China by a man known for his sculptures of Mao Zedong.

"Martin Luther King belonged to the whole world," Lei said, taking a break from perfecting a 1.2m clay model of the statue in his studio in central China's Hunan Province.

"His spirit, his ideas and his influence do not belong to one country alone. They are worldwide."

Looking every bit the archetypal artistic genius in his clay-daubed smock and shoulder-length hair, the restless, chain-smoking Lei is considered one of China's greatest sculptors.

The 53-year-old's distinguished body of work ranges from vibrant figures of peasants and workers to statues of political leaders such as Mao that burst with a life not normally seen in political statues.

He has been labeled a "First-Grade Artist" by the government, one of China's highest art honors.

Lei admits being humbled by his latest project.

The final product will feature King emerging from a 10m block of granite from China's southeastern Fujian Province, chosen for its beige color and stability.

Coupled with two other granite pieces, the work will weigh a combined 1,000 tonnes and will be transported to the US by barge.

"This is the most important project I've ever done," said Lei.

Lei said he first heard of King as a middle-schooler in the 1960s when the Communist Party had students read King's "dream" speech, viewed as an eloquent summation of the social equality the party espoused.

"I was very moved," said Lei.(AFP)














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