Visual Africa in Jinhua
On the afternoon of November 11, the 2019 Visual Africa Artwork Exhibition, themed “Africa in the Eyes of Chinese Artists,” was launched in the Qunxing Exhibition Hall of the Jinhua Cultural Museum.
The exhibition was sponsored by the Jinhua Government and Zhejiang Normal University (ZNU), and hosted by the Jinhua Culture, Broadcasting, and Tourism Bureau; the Art College and the Institute of African Studies at ZNU (IASZNU); and the Jinhua Cultural Museum. The exhibition collected over 200 pieces of painting and photography works from all over the country within three months. The experts from the exhibition organizing committee finally selected 100 pieces to be displayed. The exhibition reflected African culture, society, and life in the eyes of Chinese artists, showing Chinese people's understanding and imagination of Africa.
Professor Zheng Junde, vice president and doctoral supervisor of the Art College at ZNU, said that all the artists of the selected works have experience in Africa. Some of them work or study in Africa; some of them produce art or do business in Africa; and some of them travel in Africa. They make in-depth exploration in the hinterland of the continent and are building strong links between China and Africa. They enthusiastically depict the African continent by writing books or taking pictures.
After seeing the photos on display, Tyrese, an African student at ZNU, said excitedly that the photos depicted real life in Africa and brought to mind memories of his hometown. Ma Yuwen, a postgraduate student majoring in art and design at ZNU, said the exhibition was an opportunity to broaden his horizons.
The Art College at ZNU organized a delegation to visit South Africa in 2006 for the first time. Since then, delegations from the Art College have gone to Africa for in-depth research and sketching several times. The delegations photographed and recorded a large amount of material. With these works, the Art College not only held the first African painting exhibition at ZNU, but also held art exhibitions in the University of KwaZulu-Natal and Stellenbosch University in South Africa and the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. The exhibitions were held as art exchanges to promote cultural communication between China and Africa.
In 2009 and 2010, the Art College also held an art exhibition of traditional African sculpture and the first African art forum in China. Since the establishment of the African Art Research Center in 2007, the Art College, in close cooperation with the IASZNU, has published many academic works.
“As one of the most active African art research teams among colleges and universities in China, we still have much to do. For example, we need to further expand our investment in professional art research related to Africa,” Professor Zheng said. “We will work together with the IASZNU, the China-Africa International Business School, and other related schools at ZNU to improve each future session of the Visual Africa Artwork Exhibition.” (By Ying Kan, translated by Jin Haiqiong, edited by Kendra Fiddler)