New Life is exhibited during the Jing’an International Sculpture Project (JISP), a sculpture biennial held in the Jing’an Sculpture Park situated in Shanghai. JISP 2014 chose “City Paradise” as its theme. As a further development of the 2012 theme “City Pride” and the 2010 theme “City Fantasy”, “City Paradise” can be interpreted as a place where its inhabitants find their spiritual fulfillment, realizing their dreams and embracing a sense of happiness and belonging. A city is a home for all of its residents, offering them a sense of identity and cultural roots. In the fast-paced cities nowadays, the rapid variability in both space and time have caused or aggravated people’s inability to discover and appreciate the beauty of everyday life around them, making them increasingly ignorant about their own surroundings. Urban parks and other public cultural spaces represent a livelier and more uniquely appealing aspect of the city. They provide places for city dwellers to open themselves to the beauty of everyday life, which reflect both the unique glamour of a developing city and its people’s cultural identity.
The 6000 mm high sculpture shown by Ronald A. Westerhuis at the JISP 2014, represents the understanding and valuing of life and cultural diversity. As human individuals we can explore the uniqueness of culture and identity while developing understandings of the cultural diversity that exists in the world. Cultural heritage can provide an automatic sense of unity and belonging within a group and allows us to better understand previous generations and history.
‘New Life’ is inspired by a bamboo shoot; defining good things emerge in endlessly. It shows the Chinese culture which has been civilized and explored for thousands of years. Cultural diversity is important for creations, inspiration and the development of one’s attitude. Personal growth and history are important, and should never be seen as positive or negative but as a life lesson. We should never forget the past and be proud of where we come from.
One side of the stainless steel sculpture has a matte finish, it represents our future and the process of learning and development. The bright future, the unseen that lies in our own hands. The other side of ‘New Life’ is polished to a perfect mirror finish in where we can see ourselves reflected in our surrounding, representing the past.
‘New Life’ is created in collaboration with Central Industry Group, devoting its decades of experience in shipbuilding techniques to realize complex shaped artworks for artists some of which are Anish Kapoor and Frank Stella. The perfect finishing and polishing of ‘New Life’ are done at the studio of Ronald A. Westerhuis in the Netherlands.