Huge steel dragon headed for the PNE

Chilliwack, Kevin Stone, Metal Animation, PNE, Imperial Water Dragon

Local metal sculptor Kevin Stone's, mirror-polished stainless steel Imperial Water Dragon will be on display at the PNE in Vancouver this summer.

Local metal sculptor Kevin Stone's, mirror-polished stainless steel Imperial Water Dragon will be on display at the PNE in Vancouver this summer.

Chilliwack’s iconic steel dragon is leaving town.

Metal sculptor Kevin Stone will be showcasing his Imperial Water Dragon at the Pacific National Exhibition (PNE) in Vancouver later this month.

He hopes not to get it back.

“I hope to sell it … I hope it will stay in Vancouver and become a community piece,” he said.

Given the success of other artists showcased at the PNE, Stone could very well get his wish granted.

PNE organizers came across Stone’s website earlier this year and after making a trip to his Metal Animation Studio on Upper Prairie Road, they felt the dragon was perfect for the annual fair.

“It was just spectacular,” said Laura Ballance, PNE spokesperson. “If we get an opportunity to bring in a piece as magnificent as the one from this local artist, we will. We think it’s going to be something really different … a big hit.”

The dragon will be located in Spirit Plaza and will be featured in the middle of the container art program, a fortress of stacked shipping containers where local multi-disciplinary art is showcased.

PNE organizers believe it will be a show stopper.

The mirror-polished, stainless-steel dragon, built in 2009, is 12-feet tall, 35-feet long coiled – 85-feet uncoiled. Within the creation, the nine entities of a Chinese dragon are featured, including the head of a camel, horns of a deer, scales of a carp, eyes of a rabbit, ears of a bull, neck of a snake, belly of a clam, paws of a tiger and claws of an eagle.

The dragon is also holding a giant pearl, which signifies the world, and represents celestial and terrestrial power, as well as wisdom and strength.

“Hopefully a lot more people who haven’t had an opportunity to see and experience it, will have the opportunity to see and experience it at the PNE,” said Ballance. “We’re certainly giving it a marquee spot within the fairgrounds.”

With an estimated one million people from around the province, country and the world visiting the fair, Stone’s sculptures will no longer be Chilliwack sculptures – they’ll be world sculptures.

Previous PNE artists have gone on to become stars, including Michael Buble, or have had their work featured in galleries throughout Europe, or purchased within days of the fair opening.

That’s what Stone is hoping for.

“Next year is the year of the dragon and I think that will be a really big selling feature for my dragon,” said Stone.

“Ideally, I just want to see it permanently displayed somewhere for people to enjoy and where they don’t have to search the farmlands just to see it.”

The dragon is scheduled to be transported from Chilliwack to the fair grounds in Vancouver on Aug. 15.

The PNE runs from Aug. 20 to Sept. 5.

kbartel@theprogress.com

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