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Flying Penguins on display at Sea Life Sydney Aquarium for Lunar New Year

February 13, 2018 Attraction No Comments Email Email

In celebration of this year’s Lunar New Year, Sea Life Sydney Aquarium has collaborated with acclaimed Chinese-Australian multimedia artist, Tianli Zu, who has curated two art installations celebrating the relationship between Australia and China, whilst incorporating Sea Life Sydney and its colony of Sub-Antarctic penguins.

Between Monday 12th February and Friday 23rd February, the two unique art creations will be in display within the aquarium for all guests to appreciate.

Tianli Zu has tapped into the harmony between nature, animals and human beings within the Chinese culture and philosophy and curated two special installations each have a special meaning:

  • Sculpture one: The Flying Penguin – The flying penguin is portrayed in geometric shapes to represent its movement. Its uplifting energy is mirrored in the diagonal structure of the sculpture. Suspended from the centre of the arch outside the entrance to Sea Life’s Penguin Expedition, this playful sculpture will move in a slow and elegant rhythm, stirred by the breeze.
  • Sculpture two: Home –  According to the classical Chinese writing, penguins are called ‘people’ because of their human-like characteristics: they have two feet and stand upright. Penguins are caring animals that take care of their families in ways comparable to humans. Displayed on the viewing window of Penguin Expedition is Chinese character for home, ‘Jias’. For guests who can read Chinese or are themselves travellers from afar, it is designed to help them feel at home.

Tianli Zu, who designed and built the sculptures in celebration for the Lunar New Year, said she was honoured by the opportunity to collaborate with Sea Life Sydney Aquarium, “I’m very excited to share my concepts and sculptures with visitors to Sydney Aquarium. After spending hours in the attraction, admiring the beautiful animals, I felt compelled to incorporate the penguins and their values for family and love in my Lunar New Year creations.

“I loved the opportunity to spread our traditions in a way that all visitors can relate to and be part of, and felt a responsibility to bring something that both the local and international guests to Sea Life Aquarium could appreciate and admire during the Lunar New Year period.

“The Flying Penguin and Home are interconnected, and the concept behind both art works is the idea of bringing the family together. Sea Life Sydney is the perfect location to showcase this – as it’s a popular day out for families.”

Born in Beijing, Zu has absorbed art from a young age. Raised by her grandparents, who taught her traditional paper cutting and calligraphy, she began studying classical art at the age of 15.

Almost 30 years ago, she moved to Sydney to further her training and has since become an award-winning multimedia artist, even named a finalist for the Archibald prize in 2015.

“When I first moved to Sydney, there were very few Chinese artists here and the Chinese culture was quite hidden. Today, there are far more opportunities to extend our Chinese traditions to the public, and it is so special to be able to work with Sea Life – knowing that thousands of people will see my creations,” said Tianli Zu.

Richard Dilly, General Manager, Sea Life Sydney Aquarium says, “We realise what an important celebration Lunar New Year is to both our domestic and also our international guests. We welcome a large number of Asian visitors through our doors and the Lunar New Year is no exception. To celebrate this special time, we wanted to introduce something unique that will help our guests feel at home here.

“We collaborated with the highly acclaimed multimedia artist, Tianli Zu, who has designed and built two very special artworks that reflect on the Asian culture and the importance of home and family – values that are also very important to the Sea Life family and our creatures. This is unlike any other collaboration we’ve showcased within the aquarium and we hope these sculptures will resonate with our guests on a local and global sense.”

Both installations will be on display inside Sea Life Sydney Aquarium between Monday 12th February and Friday 23rd February 2018.

Guests also have the opportunity to take a little piece of Tianli’s creations home, with DIY origami sheets and instructions available at admissions during the Lunar New Year period.

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