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World-famous sculptor Antony Gormley has spent the last 25 years “infecting” public spaces with sculptures that transform viewers’ imagination and challenge their preconceptions. In “Children’s Field,” a Gormley-inspired community art project produced by the American School in Japan (ASIJ) and A.R.T. (Artist Residence Tokyo), it was children who caught the bug first.

Last November, students from the ASIJ’s Early Learning Center went to see Gormley’s “Asian Field” in Roppongi (see Japan Times, Nov. 17, 2004 and March 31, 2005). On show were 156,000 of 190,000 miniature clay figures made, under the artist’s guidance, by 350 people of all ages from Xiangshan village near Guangzhou, China. The intense, shamanistic quality of the figures had a disarming charm — they represented a surrogate global population, one that demanded reconsideration of how you understand the world around you.

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