PAINTING BY CHARACTERS
Chinese calligraphy competition boosts cultural exchange among SCO countries By Ji Jing
‘When walking in a group of three, my teachers are always present. I draw out what is good in them so as to emulate it myself, and what is not good in them so as to alter it in myself.”
These were the winning words written by Sofya Simatova, a PhD candidate and Chinese teacher at Moscow City University, who recently claimed first prize at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Chinese Calligraphy Contest.
Simatova chose the lines from The Analects of Confucius as the subject of her calligraphy which was submitted to the orga- nizing committee of the contest.
“Every Chinese language teacher should adopt these words as their motto, because as Chinese language teachers, we should not only teach but also learn from other people to improve ourselves,” said Simatova in a video clip played at the award ceremony in Beijing.
Jointly hosted by subsidiaries of a Chinese media conglomerate committed to international communication, the China International Publishing Group (CIPG), China Pictorial and China.org.cn, the contest has been held on two previous occasions. This year’s iteration, sponsored by the New Health Industry Group, aimed to create a friendly and cultural atmosphere at the SCO Qingdao Summit to be held in early June.
More than 2,000 entries were submitted by competitors hailing from SCO member states and other countries in Europe and Asia, with approximately 40 receiving prizes.
“The contest boosts cultural exchange and highlights the role of Chinese calligraphy…It also provided a platform for Chinese calligraphy lovers from different countries to show off their talent,” Wang Gangyi, Vice President of the CIPG, said during the ceremony.
“The contest has afforded an opportunity for young people from SCO member states and other countries in Asia and Europe to gather together to build the Shanghai Spirit,” said Aizada Subakozhoyeva, Deputy Secretary General of the SCO.
Simatova began learning the art of Chinese calligraphy while studying for a Master’s degree at the Beijing Language and Culture University. “Originally I was just trying to improve my mood through calligraphy because I was quite down when I first arrived in Beijing as the city was new to me and I had few friends,” Simatova told Beijing Review.
“Now calligraphy is not only one of my hobbies, but also part of my career,” she added.