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Posted on: March 28, 2017

City Hall Art Exhibit Showcases Handmade Kites by Famed Chinese-American Artist

Kites of Tyrus Wong opens April 2
The Malibu Cultural Arts Commission’s next public art installation, Painting the Sky: The Kites of Tyrus Wong, opened April 2 in Malibu City Hall, and will be on display through July 28.

Wong, who passed away on December 30, 2016 at the age of 106, was one of the most celebrated Chinese-American artists of the 20th century. He was a Hollywood studio artist, painter, printmaker, calligrapher, greeting-card illustrator and, in later years, maker of unique, elegant kites.

“The gorgeous kites of Tyrus Wong will offer inspiration and cheer to everyone who visits Malibu City Hall,” said Mayor Lou La Monte. “Malibu is proud to host an exhibition of the work of such a significant artist.”

Also featured are photographs from Sara Jane Boyers’ collection, Go Fly a Kite: Saturdays at the Beach with Tyrus Wong, which will be on display in City Hall during the exhibition.

The exhibit debuted at an opening reception on April 2, and included a screening of the documentary, Tyrus, written and directed by Pamela Tom. The film is an in-depth portrait of the life and enduring impact of Wong, taking viewers on a journey from his birthplace in Guangzhou, China in 1910 to the boarding houses of L.A.’s old Chinatown and the studios of the Golden Age of Hollywood.

Wong’s career took off while working at Disney where, as a landscape painter, his talent was put to work creating the look and style for Disney’s classic animated feature Bambi. He then moved to Warner Bros. Studios where he worked for over 30 years as a pre-production illustrator on dozens of live-action films, including The Sands of Iwo Jima, Rebel Without a Cause, and The Wild Bunch.

After retiring, Wong re-discovered his childhood love of flying kites. He designed and hand-made hundreds of kites using bamboo, rattan, nylon, and string. He would fill the sky at the beach in Santa Monica with his whimsical creations: flocks of butterflies, owls, cranes, and swallows, schools of fish, a panda, and, on windy days, a 100-foot long centipede.

For more information, call 310-456-2489 ext. 337.

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