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The Lion - the new guardian of Wardour Street

Story by Lizzie Guilfoyle

FOLLOWING Chinatown Arts Space and Shaftesbury PLC’s announcement that Hsiao-Chi Tsai from Taiwan and Kimiya Yoshikawa from Japan were the winners of the £20,000 Wardour Street Sculpture commission, their work called simply The Lion has been installed on the corner of Wardour Street and Shaftesbury Avenue.

The unveiling took place on April 8, 2009. Encapsulating the vibrancy and diversity of Chinatown and its community, The Lion will remain in situ for up to ten years.

The Lion is a striking contemporary interpretation of a traditional Chinese symbol of greeting and guardianship. Made of jesmonite, brightly coloured Perspex and treated steel, the colour and pattern of The Lion represent the diversity of East Asians living and working in the UK.

David Tse Ka-shing (Creative Director of Chinatown Arts Space) said: “This is a vibrant, playful, modern interpretation of a traditional East Asian icon using colourful Perspex material, and will be a striking addition to Chinatown’s increasing public artwork. The sculpture marks one entrance into Chinatown and will be in situ for up to 10 years, a welcome cultural icon in the West End amidst the busy landscape of advertising jostling for people’s attention.”

Hsiao-Chi Tsai and Kimiya Yoshikawa graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2006 with Tsai specialising in Textiles and Yoshikawa in Sculpture. They have also been commissioned by Lewisham Council to produce a public sculpture for Catford town centre.