Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Han Meilin Arts Museum in Hangzhou


During our stay in Hangzhou, we were also invited to the Han Meilin Arts Museum, a very nice modern art gallery devoted to Han Meilin, Chinese designer now extremely popular by its creation, the five marcots of next year's Olympic Games in Beijing. I had the chance to discuss about these cute figures with some real life animators and designers, and they seemed to agree in that the mascots are horrible from a designer's point of view.

In my humble opinion, I disagree. Horrible was that eagle used for the Los Angeles Olympics in '84, cheap imitation of one of Disney's Three Caballeros. These five things, Fuwa as they call 'em, are well on their way to become one of the biggest cash maker of this century. Not one, but FIVE different puppets that every attendant to the games will carry back home (it would seem stupid to buy only one of them once we've made all this trip, wouldn't it?). Plus, they are magnets for little ones, so cute and cuddling, and in a country where children are so spoiled (do not forget that with the Single Child policy, every child has 6 seniors caring only for him: parents, and 4 grandparents), who's going to say no to buying these cute fuwa. I will definetely buy the fulll range for my soon to be born nephew!
Last, we are in the most populated country, with 1,340,000,000 people eager to own one of the new symbols of their emerging power and modernization of China. This it definetely the best marketing operation of the Olympic Committee as of yet.

Anyway, the museum is well worth a visit, and all the pieces are excellent, from the paintings to the sculptures. And here is Jenny with the biggest one (see pic).

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