Last year, Ai Weiwei, one of China’s most famous living artists, brought his Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads installation to Civic Center Park. The collection came to Denver with an expiration date and it was slated to leave for its next destination this October. But today Denver Arts and Venues announced that it will now stay through January of 2019.

“Denver has embraced ‘Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads’ as a featured piece in Civic Center Park, attracting residents and visitors daily,” explained Tariana Navas-Nieves, Denver Arts & Venues cultural affairs director. “I am thrilled and feel privileged to extend its stay. Ai Weiwei’s work not only examines the complex intersection of artistic practice and social activism, but these sculptures are also playful, engaging and accessible to all.”

The structure has been on tour across the world since its debut in 2010 — traveling from São Paulo t0 Miami, Toronto, Boston, Taipei, Mexico City, London, New York, Prague and Vienna. The 12 bronze statues, each one representing a different zodiac animal, is a reinterpretation of an 18th-century water clock-fountain in China. Originally designed by two European Jesuits, the heads were eventually stolen in 1860 by French and British troops. Ai Weiwei’s remake calls attention to looting and repatriation as well as exploring the concept of fakes versus original artwork.

The sculptures are located in Denver’s Civic Center Park and are available for viewer enjoyment until January of 2019. For more information regarding the installation go here. 

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