If you have been following our journey, you will have seen that each year we give the chance to someone new to visualize our Tchi. This year we saw Iwan Smit – renowned for his colorful graphic art and sculptures – as an inevitable choice. Our company is familiar with mystical figures that represent our various energies and the way we do what we do. We use a number of symbols to tell our story. Iwan typically uses many symbols and animals in his work, which make him the perfect person to introduce our new mythical character: Di Long, the Water Dragon.
In Iwan’s work we see three intertwined energies whirling vigorously forward, chasing dreams together and achieving common goals. With their resilient shapes they join their strengths to take on any challenges that have to be faced.
The fiery Phoenix Bird is a familiar character. She is Fenghuang, and represents the people of Tchai. Then there is the newcomer, Di Long. As a water dragon she is essential to us all as a catalyst; she brings the ripple effect by making and retaining genuine connections with ourselves, each other and the world. Her flexible body allows her to seep through everything… and to be the watchdog that ensures that nothing stagnates but remains in motion, allowing all that is fruitful to blossom. Due to our Chinese roots we celebrate Chinese New Year. As it is the Year of the Tiger this zodiac animal gets a role as well. He stands for a roaring, continuous call to action. Rotterdam rooted Iwan would say: “We grijpen het jaar bij z’n lurven!” (Meaning: ‘We grab the year by its throat!’) – and do it with bravery and passion.
About the artist
Iwan’s work navigates between heavy themes and light-heartedness, often resulting in colorful worlds with a dark twist. Creating work is his way to channel past events and feelings and investigate notions of fear, mortality and legacy. “I attempt to make sense of the world through mixing my own experiences with collective beliefs, often questioning mythological symbols and their representation to create my own narratives.”
The ongoing Tchi movement
If you have been following our journey, you will have seen that each year we give the stage to someone new, where they visualize what Tchi means to them personally. Tchi is intertwined in everything we do, and this mutual energy can also be seen differently by the individual.
We have already enjoyed several interpretations of Tchi. Last year’s artwork was created by illustrating artist Sioejeng Tsao; Tchai’s journey over the last sixty years. The year before our 60th jubilee it took the form of the playful fruit machine of Johan Moorman and earlier the iconic cherry blossom tree of Tchai designer Kasper van Vliet, which evolved with the arrival of each new season.