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Look to the Horizon

  • created 2014
  • granite
  • 142”H x 48”W x 63”D
    (360cmH x 122cmW x 160cmD)
  • public art collection, Yanghu Wetland Park, Changsha, Hunan, China

Michael Binkley was invited as the only representative of Canada to the inaugural Changsha International Sculpture Art Festival. The Festival was held from Sept. 15 – Oct. 30, 2014 at the Yanghu Wetland Park in Changsha, Hunan, China. This 45 day cultural event was sponsored by the Changsha Pilot Investment Holdings Co. Ltd. and included cultural exchange between 21 artists from 17 countries, and local university students, government officials and the general public.

Binkley used the Festival’s theme of City Spirit, City Culture, City Creation as the basis for his composition. The artist researched that an ancient text of Tao was discovered in a tomb excavated in the mountains surrounding Changsha in the early 1970’s and conceived “Look to the Horizon.” A female and male nude are standing back to back, each looking outwards to the far horizon. The sculpture stands 12 feet (360cm) tall and is carved from grey granite from the Xiamen area of China.

The sculpture is located in Yanghu Wetland Park, along with the 20 other sculptures from the 2014 Festival and are the permanent collection of city of Changsha.

The figures represent Yin and Yang from Taoism and stand back to back in the spirit of support and friendship. “I’ve got your back” is a North American expression of support and protection. The figures also represent Binkley and his wife Michelle, as they are both firmly entrenched in Michael’s artistic career. Yin, female, is night and she faces west towards the sunset. Yang, male, is day and he faces east towards sunrise. Binkley is from Vancouver, BC, Canada, one of the last cities in the northern hemisphere to say goodbye to each day and China is among the first countries to say hello to each new day. Binkley brought threads of his Canadian culture to Changsha and he in turn was immersed in the provincial capital city’s rich heritage.

Binkley used a bush hammer finish on the figures so they would appear almost white when dry. However, when wet, the figures become charcoal black in colour, further emphasizing the black and white colours of the Yin Yang symbol. The sculpture is free standing and he used curved webbing that extends behind the figure’s legs for support to counter cantilever. Binkley carved the Yin Yang symbol after his signature on the webbing of the male’s right leg.

The sculpture is sited within a circle of granite pavers and with a curved granite bench for park visitors to sit and contemplate the sculpture. Four lights at the sculpture’s base shine upwards for nighttime viewing.