Chinese ‘craze’ in Cambridge—Traditional Chinese Painting Exhibition by Mr. JI Guoqiang

Cultural Exchanges

June of Cambridge is the most enjoyable time of the year with the beautiful sunshine and wavering willows along the River Cam. During 6-25 June, 2011, a traditional Chinese painting exhibition has been held in Michaelhouse of Cambridge. The exhibition themed ‘Call of the Wild’ has displayed the artworks of Prof. JI Guoqiang from Xi’an Fine Arts Academy.

On 6th June, an opening event for the exhibition began at 6pm in Michaelhouse. Many faculty members and guests of the University of Cambridge attended the opening. The director of Michaelhouse centre Ms. Sue Binns first made a welcome speech in the ceremony. She expressed her warm greetings to Prof. JI and her respect to the artworks that they are of the highest artistic value. The director of Cambridge Overseas Trust, Mr. Michael O’Sullivan then made his speech on behalf of Cambridge. In fact, Mr. O’Sullivan used to be the director of British Council and spent 15 years in China. He said the artworks being displayed in Cambridge reminded him of the days in China. Looking back, Mr. O’Sullivan claimed that University of Cambridge has a connection with China since long ago, be it the Needham researches or the Chinese Language teaching. Since the paintings are mostly about ethnic minorities in China, Mr. O’Sullivan reviewed his first communication with the local minority people in Yunnan Province of China. Finally, Prof. JI went to the centre of the stage. He first expressed his thanks to the guests present and briefly introduced his personal experiences and backgrounds for the paintings. He then attached great importance to cultural communications between China and UK and pointed out the similar wishes of the people the world over for happiness, freedom and peace. At the end of the ceremony, guests altogether unveiled Prof. JI Guoqiang’s exhibition and the great artwork ‘Family on the Plateau’ was shown to the viewers. After the ceremony, Prof. JI talked with many guests and gave away copies of his painting anthology.

On 7th the next day, Prof. JI was invited to give a lecture on Chinese painting to the students of Cambridge. Beginning with the history of Chinese painting, Prof. JI talked about the techniques and ways of appreciating the paintings. Moreover, Prof. JI elaborated on the differences between western and Chinese paintings. Finally, surrounded by Cambridge students, Prof. JI made a live show of his painting skills by painting ‘A girl of Qiang minority’. The lecture ended in amazement and applauses.

This traditional Chinese painting exhibition and lecture has been organized by Cambridge Eastern Education and Development Society (CEEDS). Three weeks’ time would offer people in Cambridge a great opportunity to appreciate the Chinese art. 

Some more photos from the opening event: