Pictured – Princess by Foon Sham with Ballet Dancer
Silicon Valley Sculpture Fair Welcomes “Princess”
Silicon Valley, CA (September 2020) – For Immediate Release. The family of noted international
artist Foon Sham has donated his new signature wood sculpture to Menlo College in Atherton
before the Silicon Valley Sculpture Fair commences, September 25th – 27th (SVS2020).
“Princess,” standing at a height of 10 feet, can call Menlo College home after SVS2020. Sham’s
decades-long career has spanned the globe and reflects a journey still unfolding. Wood has
always been Sham’s primary medium in his sculpture and installations. He has sawed, cut,
carved, laminated, stacked, and assembled a multiplicity of soft and hardwood into organic and
geometric forms from small to massive pieces. His art echoes his personal feeling to nature,
disaster, and the environment. In his recent installations, he invited visitors to participate and
share their thoughts and ideas. Sham received a BFA from the California College of Arts and
Crafts, and an MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University. He is a professor of art at the
University of Maryland, College Park. He has had 40 solo exhibitions in the Washington
Metropolitan region. Sham’s work can also be seen at the Smithsonian Garden at the National
Museum of American History.
Sham states, “In general, I love to stack and build with wooden blocks to create visually
interesting forms that are meaningful to me. I have been interested in the vessel forms for a
while because they provide both exterior and interior spaces to explore. Most of my large-scale
forms are built with thousands of wooden blocks in different sizes. In some, you can enter the
interior space, look up to the sky, smell the wood, and experience the change of temperature.
In this piece, the interior is not large enough to enter.” Sham continues, “While most of the
larger vessel structures I created are symmetrical in the past, the sculptures in this new series
are mostly asymmetrical. Each layer of blocks is changing in sizes, shifting, and spinning as it
travels upwards. The earlier geometric designs have been transformed into more organic and
curvilinear contours. In building these new pieces, it is more complex and labor-intensive. In
“Princess,” the title refers to the elegant and curvilinear profile of a female body. It provides
different all-around views.”
SVS Project Manager, Maria Cerrone, recalls the strong presence of Sham’s sculptures in
Washington DC and reached out to him. She said, “Every now and then in life, you encounter
such an arresting, sublime, and transformational art form - poetry, music, a painting, sculpture -
that you never forget. This happened to me when I first met Foon Sham and experienced his
wood sculptures in the Washington DC area. I am thrilled that now years later, I was able to
enlist his participation in SVS2020, resulting in his piece titled “Princess” to become a
permanent fixture at Meno College campus. How fortunate for the community at large!
Katharina Powers, Menlo Park Public Art (MPPA) CEO added, “Even before the first Silicon
Valley Sculpture fair opens, a sculpture has been dedicated to Menlo College. An iconic,
monumental piece has been placed; value has been created. One of the MPPA’s missions has
been fulfilled. This is an incredible success and impactful for every student walking by the
sculpture. They can look up and admire the wooden-woven structure." Powers goes on, “During
installation, I was curious to find out why the artist called the sculpture "Princess". It does not
look like your perception of a beautiful princess, but it is easy to discover why your mind goes
beyond it. It is a romantic encounter with wood, in a shape that makes you stare at it. It looks
woven, it is mysterious and magical. Are these the attributes of a 21st-century princess? The
sculpture was purposefully placed in the progressive part of the fair as this year’s theme is past,
present, and progressive. This serves as a reminder for all the students to dream big, make
extraordinary things happen, that life changes quickly, and will stay mysterious. We cannot
predict the outcome at any given time, but we can still believe in magic, dream a little, dream
about the future of Silicon Valley as a place where mystery meets magic, where unicorns are
extremely valuable, and where princesses might be the next Wunderkind or big thing. Art can
disrupt any industry; it just takes imagination. We are defining Silicon Valley.”
About Silicon Valley Sculpture Fair
The Silicon Valley Sculpture (SVS) fine art fair is the primary fundraiser for Menlo Park Public
Art, a nonprofit organization with the goal of defining Silicon Valley through public art.
By exhibiting large scale sculptures in the heart of Silicon Valley, we are increasing access to art
in an area where the importance of technology has often surpassed the recognition of other
forms of culture.
In addition to large-scale fine art sculptures with a narrative exhibited in a natural environment,
the event will include performance art that draws attention to pressing issues facing the Silicon
Valley community, such as privacy, equality, displacement.
This year´s theme is "Past, Present, Progressive." An art walk will guide visitors through
sculptures that represent all three ideas.
Profound gratitude goes to the Menlo College community for providing us with a stunning,
minimalist environment to showcase these artworks in grand style. Tickets are still available at
About Menlo College
Historically Menlo College has roots that fall back to Faxon Dean Atherton and his wife
Dominga. The Oak studded campus was once the elegant home and ranch of this early
California family. The Atherton’s large family home became the center of a growing community.
Together Faxon and Dominga exhibited all the stubbornness, optimism, and can-do spirit that is
the root of all the Silicon Valley entrepreneurs who came later.
When discussing the event, Steven A. Weiner, President of Menlo College, said “The Menlo
College community of scholars, alumni, trustees, and students join me in looking forward to the
opportunity to host the first Silicon Valley Sculpture fair. The beauty of our campus makes for
an ideal setting of a celebration and showcase of art, and we are proud to provide people from
throughout the Bay Area and beyond an opportunity to celebrate the talents of participating
About New Ballet
The Dancers Bringing Life to the SVS2020 Sculptures are from New Ballet of San Jose with
Artistic Director Dalia Rawson.
New Ballet is a full-time ballet company and the Official Ballet Company of the Hammer
Theatre, offering a full season of ballet in San Jose, California. Company Artists represent
exceptional professional talent and perform in New Ballet productions which have been
described by critics and audiences as “inspired,” “entertaining,” and “woke.”