A sculptural composition depicting Chinese legendary Tang Dynasty poet Du Fu and Ukrainian iconic poet Taras Shevchenko was unveiled in central Kiev on Thursday to mark the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Ukraine.
The installation named "Gates of the soul. The conversation between Taras Shevchenko and Du Fu." was inaugurated in Kiev Botanic Garden on the outskirts of the Ukrainian government district.
The composition was created by China's world-renowned sculptor Wu Weishan and presented as a gift to Kiev National Taras Shevchenko University during a ceremony attended by a string of Ukrainian artists and high-ranked government officials.
While addressing the ceremony, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Viacheslav Kyrylenko thanked Wu for the gift, saying it is another impetus to the already flourishing cultural relations between China and Ukraine.
"In the recent time, the ties between the Ukrainian and the Chinese people are deepening and intensifying. Thousands of students, scientists, cultural workers, teachers, engineers, technologists are traveling between China and Ukraine, thus deepening the friendship between our peoples. Today's event is another confirmation of our friendship, and of our good brotherly relations," Kyrylenko said.
The 2.3-meter-high bronze composition is shaped in the form of two books with carved portraits of Du and Shevchenko. It symbolizes the dialogue of the souls of two great representatives of the Chinese and Ukrainian cultures.
Du, known as the Sage of Poetry, lived from 712 to 770 and authored about 1,400 poems. He is one of the most popular foreign poets in Ukraine -- many of his works are translated into Ukrainian and included into curricula of public schools.
Shevchenko, who was born in 1814 in serfdom in a remote Ukrainian village, is considered the greatest Ukrainian poet, writer and painter. Yet, he is known not just for his creative achievements, but also for his fight against slavery and the institution of serfdom itself.
Wu Weishan, the author of the composition, said the two poets have much in common despite they are separated by the centuries. The same holds true for the people of China and Ukraine, who are separated by thousands of kilometers.
"There is a Chinese saying: "Though born a thousand li apart, souls which are one shall meet." And today's event is a symbol of the meeting between China and Ukraine," Wu, who is director of the National Art Museum of China, told the ceremony.
The installment of the composition has gained applauses in the Ukrainian cultural society, with Ostap Kovalchuk, Vice-Rector of the National Academy of Fine Arts and Architecture of Ukraine, describing it as a "new milestone" in cultural exchanges between his country and China.
"This is an extraordinary event because it is a debut in all senses. For the first time ever, the Chinese sculptor has created a monument to Shevchenko; for the first time ever, a monument to the great Chinese poet Du Fu was installed in Ukraine. This is really landmark event, not an overstatement to say it is historic," Kovalchuk said.
The sculpture was also welcomed with great enthusiasm by Ukrainian art lovers.
"Today we have drawn two parallels between the history and the culture of our countries. I think this is a great moment," said Denis, a second-year student at Kiev National Taras Shevchenko University.