The cultural initiative "OPERATION PANDA" was launched on Wednesday in Saint-Germain-des-Pres neighbourhood of Paris by Chengdu International Finance Square (Chengdu IFS) and Saint-Germain-des-Pres Committee.
Chengdu IFS is one of the most sophisticated cosmopolitan city complexes in Chengdu of China, and the Saint-Germain-des-Pres Committee is an association of traders and local residents which aims to maintain the cultural traditions and prestige of the neighbourhood.
The initiative is the first joint operation between the two sides since they established an international partnership in May to advance in-depth exchanges in art, culture, commerce, and joint tourism promotion, with the support of Chengdu municipal government and the 6th arrondissement of Paris.
During the opening ceremony held at the traditional Christmas market of Saint-Germain-des-Pres, a panda artwork, specially created for OPERATION PANDA by French contemporary artist Richard Orlinski, was officially unveiled.
The piece of art will be exhibited at the Christmas market for the holiday season before traveling to Beauval Zoo, the French zoo where pandas are on loan to France from China. In June 2018, the art work will take part in the contemporary art fair Parcours Saint-Germain, before being donated to the Necker children's hospital in central Paris.
As an important element of OPERATION PANDA, a wood cabin with a panda theme was presented at the Christmas market as a gift from Chengdu to Paris. Profits from the sales of plush panda toys at the cabin will be donated to Necker.
Meanwhile, Chengdu is celebrating the event "Romantic Rive Gauche, French Christmas".
"Our partnership is facilitating the delivery and exchange of fine arts and culture," said Christina Hau, a representative of Chengdu IFS.
"Operation Panda...will lay a solid foundation for" the long-term partnership of the two sides, said Jean-Pierre Lecoq, official of the 6th arrondissement of Paris, at the opening ceremony.
In 2018, the two sides will promote exchange and cooperation by forging an artistic bond, with plans to launch a series of themed events entitled "City Hallmarks 2018: Art Invigorating Two Cities". Artists from China's Sichuan province will participate in the Parcours Art Festival at Saint-Germain-des-Pres, and in turn Chengdu IFS will embrace the concept and spirit of Parcours by creating the Chengdu Parcours Art Festival.