Promoting Cultural Sharing with Art: “Belt and Road International Printmaking Exchange Project Achievement Exhibition” debuted

TEXT:Sue Wang    DATE: 2019.5.24

On May 18, 2019, the opening ceremony of the “Win-Win Cooperation/Belt and Road International Printmaking Exchange Project Achievement Exhibition” co-sponsored by the Chinese National Academy of Arts and the Palace Museum was held at the Palace Museum. The exhibition features a total of 78 prints by 34 Chinese artists and 44 foreign artists from countries along the “Belt and Road”, including Bulgaria, Poland, Cambodia, Russia, Iraq, Bangladesh, Nepal, Hungary, Greece, Egypt, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bahrain, Slovenia, Croatia, India, Ukraine, Indonesia, Thailand and so on.

On the day of the opening ceremony, the public education activity of printmaking themed on “Great Civilization” organized by the Palace Museum was held. As an important part of the exhibition and a classroom to convey artistic knowledge, 10 groups of families and 6 groups of teachers and students participated in the event and visited the exhibition. Besides, under the guidance of artists, they also completed their own prints with the characteristics of the Forbidden City. This public education activity allows people to understand the art of printmaking in the process of personal production of prints; At the same time, it also helps spectators understand and learn the cultural value of China’s great historical heritage represented by the Forbidden City through the form of prints.

The guests present at the opening ceremony included Mr. Li Qun, Vice Minister of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of China, Mr. Wang Xudong, Director of the Palace Museum of Beijing, Mr. Han Ziyong, Director and Secretary of the Party Committee of the Chinese National Academy of Arts and Director of the China’s Intangible Cultural Heritage, Mr. Du Haijiang, Vice Director and Secretary of the Party Committee of the Palace Museum in Beijing, Mr. Li Xiaocheng, Executive Vice Director of Beijing Palace Museum, Mr. Zhu Hongwen, Secretary of the Discipline Inspection Commission of Beijing Palace Museum, Mr. Yan Hongbin, Vice President of Beijing Palace Museum, Mr. Tan Ping, Vice President of Chinese National Academy of Arts, Ms. Liu Hongchang, Vice President of Chinese National Academy of Arts, Mr. Li Shufeng, Vice President of the Chinese National Academy of Arts, Ms. Sheng Yongbo, Vice President of the Chinese National Academy of Arts, Mr. Yang Yue, Deputy Director of the Creative Research Department of the Chinese National Academy of Painting, and Mr. Wen Zhongyan, Deputy Director of the Department of Painting, Tsinghua University, as well as representatives from art and public education institutions from Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia, Guangxi, Heilongjiang and other places among China, as well as news media reporters. The opening ceremony was hosted by Mr. Kang Jianfei, Professor of the Printmaking Department at the Central Academy of Fine Arts.

“This project was born in response to the important measures of the Belt and Road Initiative. It was carried out under the background of promoting the mutual development of civilization and the commonwealth of the people. Thus it has received positive feedback from society. On the one hand, art as a media reflects the people’s ideals and good wishes. On the other hand, the artists have communicated well with each other through the residency, exhibitions, forums, public education, public welfare activities, etc., they have disseminated and shared the value of art, and made their contributions to the Silk Road of Art.” Mr. Han Ziyong, President of the Chinese National Academy of Arts, delivered the first speech at the opening ceremony.

“General Secretary Xi Jinping proposed the Belt and Road Initiative and emphasized that the most important thing in the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative is the communication among people. The most important driving force is humanistic communication.” Mr. Wang Xudong, Director of the Palace Museum, started his speech from the historical significance of the Museum. He asserted that, “On the International Museum Day, as a museum serves as cultural center, it is our common mission to transfer traditional culture through artistic creations to the future. The Palace Museum is a great legacy of world cultural heritage and institution with cultural relics. We have the responsibility to build a platform for higher cultural exchanges, allowing more scholars and artists to explore the value of cultural heritage, creative transformation, and innovative development, and present their research results and creative achievements to the audience through such a platform so as to pass on our history and culture in a better way.”

Mr. Veliko Marinchevski, a teacher from the Printmaking Department of National Academy of Art Sophia in Bulgaria, delivered a speech on behalf of the resident artists: “From the perspective of cultural exchange, the Belt and Road Initiative is an important strategic deployment of China to enhance cultural influences. It has successfully established a relationship with other countries. Such a relationship includes communications among nationalities, artists, institutions and most importantly among people of all countries. Since the initiative of the Belt and Road was put forward, relevant international forums, cultural exchanges and exhibiting cooperation have been launched in various countries, especially in Bulgaria. This exhibition brings together artists from all over the world to provide us with an opportunity to express ourselves and gain international recognition. For an artist, I am grateful and full of expectation. As long as I persist in creations, I can promote mutual understanding, mutual appreciation and cultural sharing among peoples with the strength of art.”

In May 2017, in order to strengthen the exchange of international culture and art while actually spreading Chinese culture to the world, and responding to the call of “the Belt and Road” initiative, Chinese National Academy of Arts and the Shenzhen Guanlan Printmaking Industrial Base jointly established the “Creative and Educational Base of Printmaking in Guanlan, Shenzhen organized by the Chinese National Academy of Arts”, while at the same time launching “Win-Win Cooperation/Belt and Road International Printmaking Exchange Project”, with printmaking as a media, through artists’ residency, themed exhibitions and tour exhibitions, academic forums, work donations, public collections, aesthetic education activities to promote exchanges between different countries, regions and cultures to enhance mutual understanding and cooperation.

The project lasted for two years (2017 and 2018). 104 artists from 42 countries along the Belt and Road including China had been invited to take residency at the “Creative and Educational Base of Printmaking in Guanlan, Shenzhen organized by the Chinese National Academy of Arts” to create print works; In 2017 and 2018, the themed exhibition of Dunhuang Cultural Fair as well as international and domestic tour exhibitions were held over 10 sessions. The Dunhuang International Printmaking Forum, the Belt and Road Guanlan International Printmaking Forum and the 2019 Guanlan International Printmaking Forum were successfully held. The project works were recommended to public institution collections or donated to domestic and foreign art galleries, museums and other related institutions, so that these print works can be preserved, disseminated and passed on. With the support of social institutions, 21 small printmaking studios have been donated nationwide and formed a network, which also facilitates the development of a wider variety of sustainable communication activities and enables a more in-depth dissemination of prints to society.

The exhibition will remain on view until May 31, and visitors will be able to visit the exhibition for free if they have tickets to the Palace Museum.

Edited by CAFA ART INFO, translated and edited by Sue/CAFA ART INFO

Photo Courtesy of the Organizers