In January 2010, Ferrari installed the environmental sculpture, The Family, which was selected through an international juried competition to be a permanent public sculpture by the Riverside Landscaping Belt Sculptures at the site of World Expo 2010 Shanghai China. The competition asked sculptors to propose a sculpture that was inspired by the Expo theme: “Better City, Better Life.” 

Out of 800 applicants who went through five jury panels, 24 international sculptors were selected. With Ferrari being Italian-American, he is the only American representative, while being one of two Italian sculptors. Project Midway fully sponsored the fabrication and installation of The Family because of the personal achievement this signifies for Ferrari, supporting their belief in the importance of his work and craft, but they felt that it was equally significant to have an American artist represented at this great international event. 

The sculpture will be part of a permanent sculpture park that flows along the Huangpu River, in the Pu Dong district of Shanghai, located in the heart of the Shanghai World Expo, May 1–October 31, 2010. It is estimated that this will be the largest World’s Fair to date, with over 300,000 visitors everyday. The Family will be featured in an official catalog produced by the Expo featuring the Riverside Landscaping Belt Sculptures at the site of World Expo 2010 Shanghai, China.

The Family, 2010
Stainless steel and bronze, 3 x 8 x 8 m
World Expo 2010 (near the Expo Performance Center), Pu Dong district, Riverside Landscaping Belt, Shanghai, China.
By Virginio Ferrari

Sponsored by Project Midway
Expo Dates: May 1–October 31, 2010
Official Dedication of The Family: September 19, 2010
Organized by Dept. of Cultural Affairs, Chicago Office of Tourism, Chicago Sister Cities International Program, USA National Pavilion – Shanghai Expo, Project Midway, and Ferrari Studios.

Virginio Ferrari statement:

“The Family is a visual declaration to the importance of family, love and friendship — an invitation to the infinite possibility of our future. The 2010 World Expo theme “Better City, Better Life” is at the core of this sculpture in terms of concept and function: 

The sculpture reflects the importance of the family and our relationships with each other, which makes up the fabric of our experiences within every city and our every day lives. The sculpture is designed to enrich the environment, actively participating in the three dimensional space, offering a meeting place for the community.

So in turn, the design of the sculpture reflects the importance of the city, in that, it is a place to participate in, and conceptually it reflects the importance of having strong relationships with each other.

Nine stainless steel abstract elements form the sculptural group. The two central figures that join and cross represent the mother and father, while the other seven elements, which are situated around the parents, creating a circle, represent the extended family members. 

Each of the nine sculptural elements has a structural connection to the great Chinese tradition of joinery, and represents this artistic technique: each form is composed of different elements that are joined like a puzzle. Of these nine forms, some are tied with a bronze band, while others remain free and suspended — a dynamic tension that reflects the contrasts between us and our every day lives. 

The idea of the bronze band was inspired by the thousands of Venetian wood pilings (which are tied together by a cloth band) that can be seen in the lagoons of Venice. 

I have also taken into consideration the significance of the number nine within the Chinese culture: representing friendship and love. This composition is a stylistic summation of my artistic progression: from my more classical and figurative work during my formative stage, to my more abstract and minimal periods.”


– Chicago Days Brochure (english), world-expo-2010-shanghai-china-chicago-days-brochure-english-includes-virginio-ferrari-the-family

-Chicago Days Brochure (chinese), world-expo-2010-shanghai-china-chicago-days-brochure-cn-includes-virginio-ferrari-the-family

– My Kinda Town news, world-expo-2010-shanghai-china-VFerrari_The Family_2010_Press_Chicago, my kinda town_latest news