TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 5, 2012) -

Editors Note: Photos for this release are available on the Canadian Press picture wire via Marketwire.

One of China's most influential contemporary artists, Zhang Huan, unveiled a permanent public sculpture entitled Rising, at Living Shangri-La, Toronto on Saturday, May 5th.

The large-scale exterior sculpture, which measures 21.98 x 19.8 x 4.8 metres, will permanently reside at the University Avenue entrance to Shangri-La Hotel, Toronto -- the second hotel in Canada for the Asian-based luxury brand, Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, which opens this summer.

Rising is Zhang Huan's first public art commission in Canada, and its unveiling inaugurates the new 66-storey glass structure, Living Shangri-La, Toronto. It was commissioned by the two developers of Living Shangri-La, Toronto -- Vancouver-based Westbank and the Peterson Group -- with the assistance of the Art Gallery of Ontario. The AGO assisted in identifying a world-class artist to create a site-specific work of art for the building's exterior. After an extensive global search, the selection committee unanimously chose Zhang Huan, captivated by his unbridled imagination.

Rising is a stainless-steel sculpture, comprised of countless peace pigeons and twisted tree branches that resemble the body of a dragon. It took the artist two years to complete in his Shanghai studio (2009 - 2011). Weighing 22 metric tons in total, Rising was shipped to Toronto in five containers and assembled on-site.

The monster-shape tree advocates the protection of ecology, and the harmonious relationship between humans and nature. According to Zhang Huan, "Rising represents my wish for beautiful city life to be shared by mankind and nature."

Significant public works of art created by Zhang Huan for important cultural institutions worldwide, include Hehe Xiexie for the 2010 Shanghai Expo, Three-Legged Buddha, part of the permanent collection of Storm King Art Center in New York, and Questioning Confucius for Tenuta dell'Ornellaia in Italy.

The unveiling of Rising coincides with the recognition of May as Asian Heritage Month and the community was invited to join the artist for a free ceremonial presentation at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 5th.

Following the unveiling, the public was invited to attend the opening of "Zhang Huan: Ash Paintings and Memory Doors" at the Art Gallery of Ontario from 3:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Complimentary tickets for the Saturday opening at the AGO were provided by the developers.

Contact Information:

Living Shangri-La, Toronto
Jill Killeen

Andrea-Jo Wilson
News Officer, Communications
416-979-6660, ext. 403

Caitlin Coull
Manager, Communications
416-979-6660, ext. 364