efe-epaSalamanca (Spain)

A Chinese sculptor on Thursday unveiled a new exhibition in Spain, bringing a selection of his so-called "Chubby Women" pieces to the Iberian nation for the very first time.

The sculptures, which have already earned Xu Hongfei comparisons to Colombia's Fernando Botero, would be installed in the western city of Salamanca until Mar. 3, the first such exhibit in Spain and 31st worldwide.

During the unveiling of the show, Salamanca's mayor Carlos García Carbayo expressed his "satisfaction" that an "open and welcoming city" such as his had become an open-air venue featuring 13 sculptures by the acclaimed artist.

"His interest is focused on the simple, ordinary, daily pleasures where our fellow citizens find their happiness," the mayor said.

Since the 1990s, Xu's sculptures have been shown in Berlin, Los Angeles, Shanghai, Vienna, Singapore and Beijing's Forbidden City, among other locations.

This "unprecedented" exhibition in Spain, according to García Carbayo, opened a new program for as part of celebrations for the 2019 Chinese New Year, which corresponds to the Year of the Pig.

As a token of his appreciation to the city of Salamanca, Xu, who is also the president of Guangzhou Academy of Sculpture and director of the Chinese Artist's Association has donated his sculpture "Dancing with Happiness in Spain," which was installed on the central Anaya Square.

The Chinese artist said during the inauguration that as soon as he knew his "Chubby Women" were going to Spain, he felt excited about traveling to the cradle of artists like Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí.

He also expressed his confidence that his sculptures would be free to sing and dance at ease during the festive atmosphere of the coming Chinese New Year.

In the exhibition's presentation book, the artist said his sculptures' freedom and joy of life were not qualities that were exclusive to China, but they also applied to Spain.

The exhibition is included within the city's Chinese New Year celebrations, which, according to Salamanca's mayor: "Grants us the opportunity of opening Salamanca to China and tightening our relations in many areas such as in culture, economy, tourism or education."