BRUSSELS, Feb. 7 (Xinhua) -- Phil Cleaver, a British graphic designer, won a prize in the 2024 Global Zodiac Design Competition organized by the Beijing Overseas Cultural Exchange Center for his work well incorporating ancient representations of the Chinese dragon.
To display his understanding of this year's Chinese zodiac animal, the Chinese dragon, also known as "loong" in China, Cleaver, professor of the School of Art and Design at the Middlesex University in London, combined different symbolic objects in his work: an antique Chinese dragon-shaped pipe placed across an open book, with the book resting against a backboard that is adorned with motifs from old dragon stamps.
"The loong itself is an antique pipe, beautiful in its detail and proportion, and it sits on a book that is a story of a dragon. The book is a very old symbol of knowledge ... the book reflects the knowledge and wisdom of the loong," he told Xinhua in a written interview.
This is his second time taking part in this contest. Last year, for the contest marking the Year of the Rabbit, he presented a print entitled the Rabbit Moon, which he said was inspired by an ancient Chinese myth that a jade rabbit lives on the moon.
"China has the oldest and amazingly deep sophisticated culture, and this fascinates me visually," said Cleaver, who is also a fellow of the Chartered Society of Designers.
Noting that his Chinese zodiac animal is the monkey, the graphic designer, who also loves Chinese cuisine, said he goes to China two or three times a year.
Explaining what inspired him to create the works for the Global Zodiac Design Competition in 2023 and 2024, he said, "I feel (Chinese culture) is an untapped resource visually," adding that both his works pay tribute to the past and inspire the future.
The Global Zodiac Design Competition is a signature cultural event co-sponsored by the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Culture and Tourism and the Central Academy of Fine Arts.
Besides exhibitions in Chinese cities, the works of this year's event themed on the Chinese dragon will also be on display at the Binche International Carnival and Mask Museum in Belgium, and Helsinki Airport in Finland until the end of February. ■