Sculpting a legacy

2021-01-26 12:04:25

Wu Weishan's works are on display around the world, such as this statue of Confucius in Curitiba, Brazil. CHINA DAILY On Jan 19, 2020, the National Art Museum of China in Beijing launched A Tribute to Donors, an exhibition of unprecedented scale that presented the richness and diversity of donated art the museum has received from individuals over the last six decades. But three days later, the museum announced a temporary shutdown of the show due to the then-worsening COVID-19 situation. It was not until May 13 that it was reopened to the public, initially receiving, at most, 500 visitors a day. On that day, the first five visitors entering the museum building were surprised to be greeted by Wu Weishan, the museum director. He welcomed them by giving catalogs compiled for the exhibition. "The exhibition shows utmost respect to those who donated art which they valued to the State. The spirit of their generosity to share priceless cultural assets with the public should touch everyone entering the museum," Wu said at the time. He said the closure lasted 110 days, and the museum would undertake the dual responsibilities of continuing to provide quality public service and enhance public health measures amid the pandemic. The pandemic has put administrators of global museums under considerable stress for over a year. Exhibitions were canceled or have been postponed, and visitor numbers have reduced due to health protocols such as social distancing. Digital platforms have therefore played an important role for museum directors to reach out to communities.