The sculpture being built with over 1200 bikes at the Forks

A new piece of public art is going up at The Forks – and it’s made out of 1254 bicycles.

Chinese artist Ai Weiwei’s sculpture ‘Forever Bicycles’ has made its way to Winnipeg all the way from Texas in four semi-trailers full of bikes.

Clare MacKay, executive director of the Forks Foundation, said it was help from a donor that helped get the sculpture to Winnipeg. She notes the foundation is “all about public art” and is focusing on programming and place-making.

“It’s absolutely amazing that we have an artist of this calibre being displayed at The Forks for everybody to see,” MacKay said.

The sculpture will be in Winnipeg for three years. It’s being constructed over the next few days, in hopes it will be completed by Nuit Blanche on Saturday.

The piece is being placed against the backdrop of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, which MacKay said bears a lot of significance.

“It will be sitting in the view of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights because the artist himself, this is something he is really passionate about,” she said.

“He’s not only an artists, he’s a filmmaker, he dabbles in architecture, he’s a Chinese dissident. Refugees are heavily on his mind, so the fact that this looks at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights is really important to him and his studio.”

MacKay said she hopes the sculpture will spark conversation, create a sense of place and bring people to The Forks.

“Whether or not they just look at it and say ‘Oh, that’s really cool, there’s whole bunch of bicycles there’ or whether they stop and read the sign that says this is why this piece is important. This is why the artist put it here. This is what it means. That’s fantastic.”