Photo ex­hi­bi­tion makes art out of den­tal photos, fosters ex­change

China Daily (USA) - - ACROSS AMERICA - Chang Jun Con­tact the writer at junechang@chi­nadai­

Peo­ple-to-peo­ple ex­changes be­tween China and the US could hap­pen any­where, any­place through var­i­ous plat­forms, as long as the ini­tia­tor rec­og­nizes the im­por­tance of good­will com­mu­ni­ca­tion and is will­ing to pro­mote a deeper, bet­ter and more can­did di­a­logue.

In­sti­tu­tions of higher learn­ing in par­tic­u­lar must pre­pare their stu­dents to thrive in to­day’s global econ­omy and com­mu­ni­cate well in an in­ter­na­tional work­force, through fa­cil­i­tat­ing cross-cul­tural ex­change.

That is the im­pres­sion I was left with when I walked out of the Art of Den­tistry, a photo ex­hi­bi­tion that fea­tures 34 pieces of mi­cro­scopic photography by a Chi­nese physi­cian to cel­e­brate the spirit of col­lab­o­ra­tion and in­no­va­tion be­tween the med­i­cal worlds of China and the US.

Start­ing at the Du­goni School of Den­tistry at the Univer­sity of the Pa­cific (UOP) on Aug 12, the ex­hi­bi­tion fea­tures artis­tic works by Li Tiejun, as­so­ciate dean and pro­fes­sor of oral pathol­ogy in the School of Stoma­tol­ogy at Pek­ing Univer­sity.

Stu­dents from both uni­ver­si­ties, which have had ex­change pro­grams for a decade, brain­stormed on the ex­hi­bi­tion blue­print — how to choose, en­large and frame the im­ages; se­cure a venue; and fi­nally, open to the pub­lic.

Un­der the mi­cro­scope, Li finds every­thing — an ir­ri­tated blood ves­sel, de­cal­ci­fied bone tis­sue or a sec­tion of car­ti­lage tis­sue — po­etic, mys­te­ri­ous and mag­i­cal.

“In fact, ev­ery cell has a story to tell, ev­ery molecule works a mir­a­cle. They are them­selves very artis­tic and have waited thou­sands of years to be ex­plored and to be ap­pre­ci­ated,” he said.

With his in­stincts as a painter and pho­tog­ra­pher, Li even­tu­ally de­cided to use sci­en­tific tools, the mi­cro­scope, for ex­am­ple, to record his med­i­cal ex­plo­rations and present his find­ings through cap­tur­ing, pro­cess­ing and in­ter­pret­ing mi­cro­scopic im­ages by de­ploy­ing the Chi­nese phi­los­o­phy of yin and yang and the five el­e­ments and call­ing his col­lec­tive al­bum Beauty of Life.

The names that Li gives to each of his works, Un­der the Moon, Rainy Sea­son, Win­ter Branches and Bound­less, for ex­am­ple, are his in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the essences of Chi­nese cul­ture and civ­i­liza­tions — the ne­ces­sity to har­mo­nize with the en­vi­ron­ment, the pur­suit of spir­i­tual eter­nity and tran­quil­ity, and in­ner peace.

Through spe­cial stain­ing, chang­ing of prisms, un­lim­ited imag­i­na­tion and cre­ativ­ity, Li’s cross-boundary mi­cro­scopic photography res­onates with pro­fes­sional pho­tog­ra­phers and aca­demic col­leagues alike, said Nan Xiao, a stu­dent of Li 10 years ago and now an as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor of biomed­i­cal sci­ence at UOP.

“To­day’s event cel­e­brates the Arthur A. Du­goni School of Den­tistry’s glob­ally con­nected cul­ture and ex­plores clin­i­cal ex­cel­lence and lead­er­ship,” said Nader Nader­shahi, dean of the Do­goni School. “Our long-stand­ing part­ner­ship with Pek­ing Univer­sity School of Stoma­tol­ogy is one ex­am­ple of how we build bridges with oth­ers.”

The pho­tomi­cro­graphs take you through the mists of tech­nol­ogy to a lit­tle-trav­eled land of life, said Colin Wong, ad­junct pro­fes­sor at UOP who con­nects the school’s in­ter­na­tional pro­grams with China and be­yond.

“Cur­rently, we are host­ing eight young stu­dents from Pek­ing Univer­sity, and they are among us tonight,” said Wong, when an­nounc­ing the start of the ex­hi­bi­tion at the re­cep­tion, adding that the young civic am­bas­sadors are not only learn­ing from West­ern tech­no­log­i­cal know-how but spread­ing friend­ship be­tween young gen­er­a­tions.

On a per­sonal note, Li called the stu­dent-ex­change pro­gram a bud­ding re­la­tion­ship in­spired by hu­man­ism, lead­er­ship, cre­ativ­ity and clin­i­cal ex­cel­lence be­tween China and the US.

“I hope this is an op­por­tu­nity to fur­ther strengthen our long, ex­ist­ing friend­ship be­tween our two uni­ver­si­ties,” said Li.

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