*This is the second of a series of five documenting a Chinese voyage on how humanity and art has no borders and needs no translation. A sense of home can be found in unexpected places despite distance.
The Americans on the Surpass Sino-America Artists China Art tour shared diverse backgrounds. Individuals from Montana, California, and Massachusetts journeyed to Shanghai. Some were artists, advocates, administrators and supporters but each person was passionate about how art has the ability to erase preconceived notions. Our Chinese friends were no different and now family.
Today’s agenda included a visit to the Shanghai Museum. With a coin collection like no other, history is documented over thousands of years. The calligraphy exhibit dazzled and mesmerized. Couldn’t read this beautiful language but could feel it. The marks and lines danced over scrolls of paper. Less was more.
With some free time and a recommendation from former student Qiahui De, we took a cab to K11 Art Mall designed by Kokaistudios architects. This is not your typical American suburban mall. It was shopping on artistic steroids featuring auction house pieces mixed with luxurious retailers. By the way, there was a cow with calves on its third floor!
Then off to M50 Art District to visit a cluster of galleries that feature art mixed with modern sensibilities. The location is away from Shanghai’s center. It reminded me of California’s Culver City mixed with Bergamot station in Los Angeles. A modern Chinese aesthetic appeared in many forms and mediums.
The next day, the group visited the ancient town of Xitang known as the “the foundation of Wuyue culture.” It was history mixed with merchants and quaint stores where numerous rivers converge. Allergic to trinkets, I prefer local interactions and pattern finding investigations.
After dinner, part of the group landed at a small bar featuring trendy young adults singing current pop music to Chinese flamingo. The talent was amazing! Danced and witnessed global connections. Being a workaholic, it was time to decompress with kindness and history.
Making it back to the rural hotel, I started to digest these new experiences. The words of my late friend Susan O’Malley would be the trip’s motto: BE HERE NOW.
I was and it was magical.