College Receives Sculpture Donation from Famous Chinese Artist

March 26, 2019

Renowned contemporary Chinese artist Wang Luyan has made a major gift to Whittier College. As of March 31, the College campus will be the permanent home of ten original Wang sculptures called The Walkers

According to the artist, “The Walkers appear to be advancing and retreating simultaneously – the uncertainty of the direction that The Walkers are headed towards represents the ambiguity of one’s dreams and goals. People may have already deviated from their goals even though they think they are moving toward them. While moving towards the future, one is also moving backwards towards the unforgettable past.”

Wang is a successful contemporary artist living and working in Beijing. Along with famed artist Ai Weiwei and others, Wang is a founding member of the 1979 artists’ collective called the Stars, a self-described group of “unofficial” artists who made a bold call for artistic freedom in China. Since the 1990s, he has had numerous solo and group exhibitions in China, as well as international exhibitions at the Galleria Alessandro Bagnai (Florence, Italy, 2015), Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporarian (Saint-Étienne Métropole, France, 2014), Parkview Green Exhibition Hall (Beijing, 2013), Galerie RX (Paris, France, 2012), the Total Museum (Seoul, South Korea, 2010), and the Australian National Maritime Museum (Syndney, 2018), among six others.

Wang has had a decades-long relationship with Whittier College. His brother studied abroad at Whittier 30 years ago; and at the same time, Wang formed a friendship with alumnus Randall Davidson ‘88, who happened to be studying abroad at the same time in China. Thanks to these serendipitous connections, Wang’s first-ever international exhibition was in Whittier’s Greenleaf Gallery, solidifying his link to the College.  

Davidson, Professor of History Robert Marks, Professor of Business Administration Daniel Duran, administrative coordinator of the LIASE Project Denise Wong Velasco, and a group of eleven dedicated students have worked together in the laborious process of transporting the sculptures from China to Whittier to enrich the Whitter College community with Wang’s incredibly generous donation. 

“It’s been great to be a part of this, to bring more art onto our campus and to have a personal experience with what I’ve been learning about in class,” said Amy Trinh ’20, a student studying Digital Art and Design, Consumer Behavior Marketing, and Chinese, who has played an important role in the project.

“Mr. Wang’s gift and the installation of the sculptures at Whittier College will enrich the cultural interest of our campus for students, faculty, and visitors alike,” said President Linda Oubré.

To celebrate Wang Luyan’s gift, Whittier College is planning a series of events in early May, capped with a gala opening on Sunday, May 5. For more information, contact Professor Robert Marks,