Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Laughing Statues at English Bay

Imagine my surprise last week when we visited English Bay down in the West End of Vancouver and noticed these statues


We didn't know anything about them but noticed the Christmas hats so we stopped to walk around the beach and savour a hot dog from one of those many carts in the area. I obtained information from the Westender (A local community paper)


part of which I have reproduced below

"Love them or hate them, the laughing cast-bronze statues in Morton Park, near English Bay, have been attracting people in droves since they were unveiled last week.

The installation, called “A-Maze-in Laughter” (an English translation), depicts a series of laughing men sculpted in the image of Beijing-based artist Yue Minjun, a leading figure in China’s ‘Cynical Realism’ movement, which began in the 1990s. The movement grew out of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, in which emphasis on individual expression broke away from the dominant collective mindset of the era. The piece is making its Canadian debut as part of the Vancouver Biennale, a citywide public art exhibit that will feature Minjun’s work and those of 30 other artists until June 2011. The “A-Maze-in Laughter” exhibit will also serve as the site of the Biennale’s official launch on October 27."


There were other people about also looking at these statues and mimicking their poses


Morton park is adjacent to the main beach area as you will notice from the background


The grounds were quite muddy and slippery so you had to be very careful of your footsteps unless you were wearing those special non-slip pink crocs


I think that the statues appear very festive in their red and white adornments



I think that this area of the city is the only place where you will find Palm Trees. It looks tropical but you will have to wear your winter clothing this time of year, or you will freeze .


I believe there are more statues scattered about the Greater Vancouver area which will give me something to do



  1. Thanks for sharing these. It's hard not to laugh along with them. Delightful figures.

  2. WOW!! fabulous statues, ı love sculpture I even studied it at college, love anything that is out of the ordinary and someone has really used their sense of humour and imagination, thankyou for sharing :)

  3. My kind of find! Love these, Bob, thanks for sharing. Will have to visit these funny people on my next trip.

    So you've got a genuine iPhone now?

  4. You have to like the statues. I sure do. At first it reminded me of the Easter Island statues.
    Is this the Vacouver version? LOL

  5. I'm lovin' the half naked laughin' dudes done up in Santa hats! Looks like they're havin' a helluva good time out there.

    We should ALL be so jolly.

  6. Dear Bobskoot:

    I find it interesting that CPA3485 (Jimbo) compared these statures to Easter Island. Quite frankly, if there is a shortage of one great thing in the world, it is laughter. I'm surprised the great nations of the world didn't convene in Copenhagen to discuss how laughter is being replaced by ball-busting misery.

    I think these statues are pure inspiration.

    Now you did mention the ground was quite muddy. If you had slipped and ended up on your keyster, with your pink crocs in the air, that would have given these statues something to really laugh about.

    Clever subject, Bob.

    Happy New Year to you.

    Fondest regards,
    Jack • reep • Toad
    Twisted Roads

  7. BlueKat:

    They were fun statues that we hadn't seen before. It was nice to see everyone mimicking the gestures. Thanks for stopping by


    I know that there are more statues around town in different locations. I'll see if I can find them


    If you notice the faces, they have an Asian look to them


    These statues are substantial. When you touch them they feel like bronze and are anchored into the ground


    You have a way with words. I suppose they ARE half naked and laughing, but they are wearing seasonal adornments.

    Jack "r":

    The statues were very interesting but we didn't know they were there until we found ourselves passing by and they are larger than life-like. The grounds were very slippery.

  8. I think Vancouver would be a better place to live than Rapa Nui judging by the faces of the respective statuary.
    The tourists remind me of people who visit Santa Cruz California and go "arf, arf" at the seals sunning themselves under the municipal pier.
    I miss the old banner picture of the dude looking shy about this woman standing next to him. (She likes me? she really likes me?)

  9. As usual, I enjoyed your pics Bob. "Winter" coats and green grass?? hmmm... I took some pics of winter for you. I will post them on the blog today.

  10. It's hard not to crack a smile when looking at those statues. I like those guys, and will certainly visit them on my next trip to the We(s)t coast. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Those are excellent statues - thanks for sharing these with us Bob! I wonder if people will dress the up through the year, like our "Waiting for the Interurban" in Fremont.

  12. Awesome pics!!! Love the different poses but the same sheer joy of laughter on their faces! Would be curious to look up some of the rest of the artists work! And PALM TREES!!! I didn't know you had palm trees up there! LOL!! I have found one variety that will survive in Michigan, albeit under heavy mulch insulation over the winter and planted in a protected area. I have a spot picked out, so next year I am thinking of splurging and putting 3 in just to see if they will survive.

    Thanks for posting those pictures, made my day! That and the poke at the pink crocs!! LOL!!

  13. And Mother's words came true: Be careful or your face will freeze like that.

    There's much worse expressions to have permanently etched onto one's face.

    I echo the thanks for sharing. The lighting in the photos adds to the light hearted atmosphere.

    Nice start to the my first day of 2010.

  14. ...Could do with some laughing statues here, they do have an Easter Island something about them!



  15. I think a short investigation of the artists work, officially sanctioned by the Government of China is very telling. His works often portray his figures as laughing Asian men with horns such as in his work Between Men and Animals and references in the same to numerology which of course is very popular in Chinese culture. More telling to the Vancouver exhibition however are the postures of the statues. Titled Amazing laughter the artist claims to be representing ecstatic joy but no matter how many times one views the display it is not joy that is represented despite the smiles. The asian men are indeed laughing though. Most revealing of the postures is the one where the statues hands are raised behind the head as devil horns. Chinese slang for white people is Foreign devils "Gwello" as they believe that where ever they go so goes China and it is the others that don't belong. Very telling indeed. I believe they are laughing at our ignorance.Certainly the government of China is happy to promote this artist but I would have rather had something from a more beautiful mind like Ai Wei Wei. Only artists who challenge need speak.

  16. Have just found these photos searching for the laughing statues in Vancouver, as I went there today. Seems it was a couple of years ago you went there, but your photos are great!