A large sculpture is being installed in San Francisco’s Civic Center Plaza this week to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the city’s sister-city relationship with Shanghai, China.

“Three Heads Six Arms,” a 26-foot-tall sculpture by Chinese artist Zhang Huan that weighs about 15 tons, began being installed Monday on the east side of the plaza using a large crane, according to Kate Patterson, spokeswoman for the San Francisco Arts Commission.

The installation will be completed in time for a dedication ceremony on May 12. Mayor Gavin Newsom, the artist, and several other city officials and community leaders are expected to attend, Patterson said.

The sculpture will remain in the plaza until some point in 2011, she said.

The sculpture faces east to symbolize its connection to Shanghai, its sister city in China. It is Zhang’s largest sculpture to date, and depicts the fracturing of Buddhist sculptures during the Cultural Revolution in China, according to Patterson.

“The sculpture is about alleviating the pain caused by the destruction of those religious sculptures, as well as the changing realities of the Chinese people,” she said. “It presents a vision of hope that both tradition and modernity can coexist with equal value.”

The installation of the sculpture has already caught the eye of many passersby.

“People are very curious about the sculpture and also very enthusiastic,” Patterson said.

She encouraged everyone to come out to the dedication ceremony next week.

“This project is for everyone, and we want everyone to share in excitement,” she said.

The dedication ceremony is scheduled for 10 a.m. next Wednesday at the Civic Center Plaza.

Photo: SFMike

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