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Circle of Animals

Chinese Zodiac Animals by Ai Weiwei

About the Exhibit

May 9, 2015 - January 3, 2016

Internationally acclaimed Chinese contemporary artist Ai Weiwei has reinterpreted the 12 bronze animal heads representing the traditional Chinese zodiac animals that once adorned the famed fountain-clock of the Yuanming Yuan, an imperial retreat in Beijing. The National Museum of Wildlife Art is honored to be bringing Ai Weiwei’s Zodiac Head World Tour to Wyoming after exhibitions in Mexico City, Chicago, London, Toronto, New York, Washington, DC, and Los Angeles.

Designed in the 18th century by two European Jesuit priests serving in the court of the Qing-dynasty Emperor Qianlong, the 12 Chinese zodiac animals originally functioned as parts of a water clock-fountain sited in the magnificent, European-style gardens of the Yuanming Yuan. In 1860, the Yuanming Yuan was ransacked by French and British troops, and the heads were pillaged. In reinterpreting these objects on an oversize scale, Ai Weiwei focuses attention on questions of looting and repatriation, while extending his ongoing exploration of the “fake” and the copy in relation to the original.

Click on the images below to view some of the work that will be on display at the exhibit

Mirrors & Water, 11 minute musical composition

Composer and percussionist Susie Ibarra created this original soundscape with inspiration from Ai Weiwei’s Circle of Animals and the original fountain clock in the Garden of Perfect Brightness. Listen carefully and identify all 12 animal sounds in this musical composition.

RECORDED BY MIN XIAO-FEN – PIPA (CHINESE LUTE), SUSIE IBARRA – DRUMSET, PERCUSSION. RECORDING ENGINEERED BY PAUL HOWELLS. SOUND DESIGN BY WAYNE GRIM. © SUSIE IBARRA, 2015.
What People Are Saying

We went here because one of our kids wasn't feeling too well so we looked for options that were softer than trekking (summers) , and we absolutely loved it . The art work is fascinating and beautiful and varied ...a must visit - esp if its a rainy day :)

- amazingnivs, Mumbai

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