*This is the third 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…
Indiana Jones would enthusiastically approve the road to Qilian Snow Mountain. Twisting and turning over dirt and rocks, it jarred the bus and tour. Scenic vistas with gigantic rock slabs spiked out of the terrain. Inspiration and history lives here.
Living in Richmond, California the elevation is 46 feet. With an oxygen container and camcorder, I hiked almost 13,000 feet. The pressure of each step whispered and taunted. Almost making to the top to see the mountain’s glacier, dizziness and disorientation set in.
Time to come back to Earth with art in hand.
The next day, the artists visited the Gansu Nongken Yinma Animal Husbandry Co. LTD. The company was one of the main sponsors of the tour. Artists worked together as employees watched. This was part of celebrating the Chinese Mid-Autumn festival.
The Shule River provided inspiration for the artists. Connected to the Qilian Mountains, it meanders throughout Gansu Province. Chinese and American artists created works scattered amongst its banks.
It was onwards to the Dunhuang Dunes and Mogao Caves. Located in the Gansu Province, the tour was closer to Pakistan than Shanghai. The Dunhuang Dunes was a major stop in the Silk Road and part of the Gobi Desert. The Mogao Caves contains almost 500 Buddhist grottoes. According to the Getty: “From the 4th to the 14th century, hundreds of caves were painstakingly hand carved out of the alluvial conglomerate rock cliff face, under the sponsorship of Buddhist monks, local officials, and wealthy families who wished to build karmic merit and perform an act of veneration.”
Warning: sensory overload. Time to process these moments. Take a deep breath and repeat. Thank you China.