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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

artists.”

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.”

© 2020 Silicon Valley Sculpture SVS.

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