Chi­nese Ex­pres­sions comes to Hous­ton

China Daily (USA) - - ACROSS AMERICA - Tif­fany Wang in Hous­ton con­trib­uted to the story. By CHINA DAILY in Hous­ton

The Con­fu­cius In­sti­tute (CI) at Texas South­ern Univer­sity has staged an art ex­hi­bi­tion in an ef­fort to bring more Chi­nese art to the Hous­ton pub­lic.

CI hosted a re­cep­tion on Fri­day night to kick off a con­tem­po­rary art ex­hibit ti­tled Chi­nese Ex­pres­sions, fea­tur­ing sev­eral paint­ings from 10 dif­fer­ent artists along the theme of cal­lig­ra­phy and ink wash paint­ings.

The ex­hibit runs through Nov 13 and is the start of sev­eral events planned for the in­sti­tute.

Yi Xiao, Chi­nese direc­tor of CI since April, said the in­sti­tute will be busy well into next year.

“This month, we have four ma­jor projects, and this is the first one,” Yi said. “Fol­low­ing this event, we will have pre­sen­ta­tions on the Chi­nese rail­way sys­tem and Chi­nese his­tory. For next year, we have around 30 events planned,” Yi said.

Con­gress­man Al Green and Con­sul Gen­eral of China Li Qiang­min at­tended the event.

“We are very ap­pre­cia­tive of what the Con­fu­cius In­sti­tute does, which is to build a bridge be­tween Hous­ton and China,” Li said. “We are very thank­ful for Al Green, who grad­u­ated right here from Texas South­ern Univer­sity. I am very sur­prised so many young chil­dren can sing beau­ti­ful Chi­nese songs. More and more Amer­i­can peo­ple are learn­ing Chi­nese and Chi­nese cul­ture.”

Wang Liyuan, the event co­or­di­na­tor, said she loves be­ing a part of the in­sti­tute be­cause it is a good plat­form to pro­mote Chi­nese art in Hous­ton.

“Art has no lan­guage bar­rier,” she said. “You can view the paint­ing di­rectly with your eyes — it’s in front of you. There’s no boundary be­tween coun­tries when it comes to art. That’s one of the rea­sons the direc­tor wanted to do the ex­hibit in the first place.”

There was a per­for­mance of Chi­nese songs by third-grade stu­dents from Global Learn­ing Vil­lage, a char­ter school.

Loretta Williams, a mother of one of the stu­dent per­form­ers, said she was amazed by the paint­ings and cul­ture be­ing dis­played.

“The ex­hibit was won­der­ful,” she said. “What I love about it is the di­ver­sity, to be able to bring out African-Amer­i­can and Chi­nese and Mex­i­can cul­ture un­der one roof, and then to have African-Amer­i­can chil­dren able to per­form in Chi­nese flu­ently. We are very thank­ful.”

The ex­hibit con­sists of all con­tem­po­rary and mod­ern artists. Yang Yue­hui, one of the fea­tured artists, said the event was of mo­men­tous and cur­rent sig­nif­i­cance be­cause it show­cased the his­tory of cul­tural and artis­tic ex­changes be­tween two na­tions.

“Paint­ing is a non-lin­guis­tic ex­change,” Yang said. “The char­ac­ter­is­tics in com­mon man­i­fest the same glory and won­der be­tween dif­fer­ent cul­tures.

“Chi­nese wa­ter-ink paint­ing has its dis­tinct sense of vis­ual beauty and sen­sa­tional tastes of aes­thet­ics. It is my sa­cred prac­tice for­ever.”

An­other artist, Qing­ni­ang Tang, said he was try­ing to add a con­tem­po­rary twist to the tra­di­tional medium of Chi­nese ink by paint­ing un­con­ven­tional scenes.

“It’s a tra­di­tional paint­ing, but I try not to do any­thing too tra­di­tional,” he said. “Usu­ally, tra­di­tional paint­ings of scenery are hor­i­zon­tal and eye-level, but mine is more sim­i­lar to Google Earth.”

Direc­tor Yi was pleased with the pos­i­tive re­sponse from the re­cep­tion and said it will serve as a cat­a­lyst to pur­sue other sim­i­lar events next year.

“We want to try our best to pro­mote Chi­nese lan­guage and cul­ture. Hous­ton is such a big city, if we do a good job here it can in­flu­ence the rest of the south,” said Yi.

TIF­FANY WANG / FOR CHINA DAILY

Mene­lik Gur­nell, a stu­dent from Global Learn­ing Vil­lage, reads a poem aloud to his fa­ther.

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