*This is the first of four writings exploring how community can be strengthened despite culture and distance. A trip to China reaffirms how art has the power to activate the best of humanity. Home has no boundaries. Art provides that opportunity…
Sitting on a plane traveling West towards the East, is this dream reality? Welcomed back to China with open arms is wonderfully foreign to me. The third trip in the last year swirls in shades of surreal memories. Time to experience, wait and see.
The WEST ON THE LEFT EAST ON THE RIGHT exhibit and tour is sponsored by Longding Real Estate, Bank of China, and 188Art. From curator ZhuPing Yan: “The annual American art tour provides these domestic artists a chance to get out of the ‘self’ creative fence. From those visiting and exchanges, the Chinese artists group has fully appreciated the art of the United States for its universality and inclusiveness. From Bozeman, Livingston, Helena, Yellowstone National Park to Seattle, Los Angeles, New York, from universities to liberal arts district, from artists’ studios to galleries, art centers, and even the annual Art Fair all made us so surprise. The openness, freedom of the core of cultural, brings the innovation not only on material and technique, but also great revolution of open minded concept.”
Arriving late evening at the Hanting Hotel in Shanghai, the next morning would be an early flight to Lanzhou City. The tour would focus on the Silk Road and the important locations of Jiuquan and Dunhuang. The collaboration between artists would create new paths inspired by an ancient trade route. Perspective and practice would be changed forever.
In Lanzhou, the group had the wonderful opportunity to visit Lanzhou City University. Faculty graciously provided a tour highlighting amazing examples of student’s work including lacquer applications, weavings, and ceramics. The gallery featured pieces from residency artists similar to the aesthetics of the Artist Space in New York. The university is searching for a bridge to maintain thousand of years of Chinese artistic traditions while incorporating contemporary thought. Mission accomplished.
We left the city at 9:30 pm and arrived in Jiuquan at 7:40 am. It was my first experience sleeping in a train overnight with open beds, strangers, old and new friends. I barely slept absorbing new sounds, shadows, and downloading memories.
The new day would be the opening at the Jiuquan Museum. Co-organizers included 188Art, Montana Art Council, Art School of MSU, Art School of Northwest University for Nationalities, Tongji University College of Architecture and Planning People’s Daily. Press from all over was in attendance to greet Chinese and American artists.
This was the beginning of the Silk Road tour of China. Art creates new routes throughout humanity. Shared knowledge and connections was our trade. Onwards.