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We Are One
Yi Yang_edited.jpg

WE ARE ONE is an awe-inspiring collection of stainless steel and resin sculptures inspired by Aotearoa, New Zealand's culture, mountains, rivers, and glaciers.  They each depict all New Zealanders' resilience, strength, and determination as one, with simple lines and complex textures.  It is led by one unique design; a group of figures forming an arrowhead that has unmistakable resonation with viewers, 'the Haka'.


WE ARE ONE EXHIBITion of 12 sculptures and 20 paintings at THE ART LOUNGE NZ in Howick over Matariki.  Each sculpture stands at around 40-50cm tall, nestled in front of stunning large scale oil paintings showcasing New Zealand's landscape.

27 June - 16 July 2022

The Art Lounge NZ , 39 Picton Street, Howick, Auckland


Yi Yang is a new generation Chinese sculpture artist, born in 1989, graduating from both the China Central Academy of Fine Arts and Auckland University of Technology. 


Yang has been sculpting metal figures since he was 19, and his 14m creation of Transformer Optimus Prime is now on permanent display at the Shenyang Centre business district, with others at Universal Studios in Singapore.

In 2014, he was invited by Hollywood martial arts star Jackie Chan to create a sculpture Drunkie Chan to mark 50 years of Chan's acting career and right here in New Zealand, art collector Allan Gibbs also commissioned Yang to build his Marshall Alan sculpture in 2017, which is on display at Gibbs Farm.

In his most recent series, aptly named We Are One, Yang has created an inspiring collection of over 40 carved sculptures.  The sculptures depict the strength and resilience of Aotearoa New Zealand as a whole; the landscape, the people, and the history. 


Inspiration for the ‘We Are One’ art series was drawn from the shape and energy held by glaciers, snow-capped mountains, and rivers, which looked to Yang, as though they were light blue scarves and white pearl earrings etched into the earth.  The fluidity of the earth gave Yang a sense of closeness, and he was transfixed by the water changing from solid to a fluid state.

Injecting the cultural background of Aotearoa into the natural landscape is another expansion of Yang’s inspiration.  From the older Maori culture to the modern-day New Zealand, all people have left their mark on this land.  The cultural heritage of Aotearoa and the Maori people are acknowledged, with their traditional strong stature and protruding tongues being so symbolic of Aotearoa in the modern-day.​


Yang’s passion for rugby and the Haka, in particular, draws on the Maori poses and their strength, passion, and the stories that have been told through the All Blacks.  It reflects a relationship with space and time and also with nature.


“When I started working in 2019, I first carved abstract human shapes out of the mud.  The shapes of the human bodies came from the unique poses of New Zealand figures, such as when doing the Haka and playing rugby.  On this basis, I carved the contours and textures of New Zealand’s rivers, glaciers, and mountains into the shape of the human body.” - Yi Yang

​The finished sculptures are constructed of resin and stainless steel.  The resin symbolises the purity of Aotearoa, New Zealand, and the stainless steel reflects the viewer, creating an instant connection with the work and representing strength and resilience.

We Are One art series includes one particular design that depicts a phalanx of seven arrowheads.  They are young lives nurtured by Aotearoa, New Zealand, and hold a strong formation.  The installation is dedicated to all those who love Aotearoa, and although it has been created in miniature form, it can be recreated as a large-scale installation.

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