Linking people through art, culture

2019-09-22 17:04:27 Feng Shuang

A team of renowned Chinese artists embarks on a five-day journey to the Philippines on Sunday, to join local artists promoting cultural exchange through art. [Photo by Xie Shudan/CHINA DAILY]

Political and economic ties lead to mutual progress, while exchanges in art and culture link people's hearts, said Chinese Culture and Art Association Chairman Zhou Yanzhao, speaking following the commencement of a two month Chinese-Filipino art and culture exchange.

The program begins with five renowned Chinese artists journeying to the Philippines, to collaborate with Filipino artists and meet the people of the country.

"While economic cooperation can help with material wellbeing and wealth between countries, cultural and art communications enhance recognition on a spiritual level, which helps deepen mutual understanding," said Zhou, noting such cooperative efforts support the sustainability of the massive trade and infrastructure initiative, Belt and Road.

Cooperation in economy and politics helps to connect different countries, serving as a basis for culture and art exchanges, added Zhou.

Zhou spoke to China Daily after the inaugural ceremony of the Philippine-Chinese Art and Culture Exchange Program, on Saturday, in Shenzhen, South China's Guangdong province.

Based on the theme, In Harmony with Nature, the international art and culture exchange program brings together ten artists from China and the Philippines.Together they will share and experience Nature's beauty in their respective countries, find inspiration and communicate through their paint brushes. The program concludes with two exhibitions of artworks created during the art exchanges in both countries. The exhibitions will be mounted in Manila and Shenzhen.

CCAA is the co-organizer of the program, together with the Metropolitan Museum of Manila, the Bank of China and China Daily. The aim is to cultivate innovative artistic encounters, trigger discussions on environmental concerns, deepen mutual understanding, and demonstrate how the cultures of China and the Philippines can co-exist in harmony with diversity.

"The vitality of art can only be strengthened when it is closely tied with life and realistic issues," said Zhou, explaining the reason the theme Harmony in Nature was chosen.

Zhou said he hoped the expressions and ideas of the artists will help the public to understand how mankind and Nature should relate to each other, especially as relations between the two have become strained, in some aspects.

"Just like the all of mankind is a community of shared fortune, humans and Nature can also be seen as a community of shared existence…how we treat Nature will eventually come back to us," said Zhou.

"The concept (of harmony with nature) can also create a new perspective for viewing current issues between China and the Philippines, whether on environmental issues or beyond," he said.

During the Fourth Meeting of the Bilateral Consultation Mechanism on the South China Sea, held in Manila, in April, China and the Philippines renewed their shared commitments to seek ways to enhance environmental protection and other maritime cooperation, enhancing trust and bringing greater benefits to the region.

The two countries also work to synergize the BRI, including the Philippines' "Build, Build, Build" program. The bilateral efforts being accelerating cooperation in areas such as infrastructure, telecommunications and energy.

CCAA has cooperated with China Daily previously, to take Chinese artists to Thailand, in 2015 and Myanmar, in 2018. Zhou said Harmony in Nature marks the first exchange program, with his organization bringing foreign artists to China. In the two previous programs only Chinese artists traveled abroad.

"The Philippines artists will use their brushes to depict the culture and local customs of China as seen through their own eyes, including the changes that have come to China and what China has done to achieve 'harmony with nature'," he said.

Admitting that communication in art and culture between China and the Philippines is still limited, Zhou said he hoped the program can develop into a regular exchange for long-term communication.

"It is not just in painting and not just among prominent artists, young artists and less-famous ones can also be engaged to communicate and cooperate in music, dancing, poetry and etc," said Zhou.

Noting that each form of art has its own way promoting mutual understanding and building trust, Zhou expressed the hope that the program will be expanded to bring greater communication among artists from many countries.

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