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Arts agreement strengthens Asian ties


A GROWING number of Chinese visual artists and performers will showcase their skills in South Australia as a result of a new agreement.

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The China Cultural Centre will tonight sign an agreement with the Adelaide Festival Centre to bring more Chinese artists and exhibitions to South Australia.

The February 5 agreement will be witnessed South Australian  Premier Jay Weatherill and the new Consul-General of China in Adelaide Rao Hongwei.

It will support Chinese visual arts and multi-media exhibitions at the Adelaide Festival Centre, and facilitate the presentation of Chinese Performing arts at the Adelaide Festival Centre, particularly around Chinese New Year.

The agreement will also lead to collaboration and presentation of a high level Australia-China cultural dialogue as part of the 2016 Association for Asia-Pacific Performing Arts Centres (AAPAC) Conference during the OzAsia Festival in Adelaide in September.

Adelaide Festival Centre CEO and Artistic Director Douglas Gautier said the agreement would ensure some of the very best art works and performances from China would be seen in Adelaide.

“This agreement is also an acknowledgement of Adelaide’s standing as a city of culture which is significant as Art and Culture are very highly valued in China,” Gautier said.

“In fact, news of this agreement will be covered by the China Central Television (CCTV), raising awareness of South Australia as a cultural tourism destination with hundreds of millions of Chinese viewers.”

The agreement will be signed at the opening of Stories of Life, an Australian premiere exhibition of contemporary artworks by some of China's most fascinating artists, showing in the Artspace, Adelaide Festival Centre.

Weatherill said the agreement added substance and breadth to the long-term relationship between China and South Australia.

“Building the link between South Australia and China cannot solely be about two-way investment and boosting imports and exports – though those things are obviously important.  It’s also crucially about improving our people-to-people ties – such as in the field of the arts,” he said.

“This has already yielded tangible results in the form of this exhibition – which has come direct from Beijing and there will be many more examples of sharing and co-operation to come.”

The inauguration of the China Cultural Centre in Sydney was witnessed by Chinese President Xi Jinping on his first visit to Australia in November 2014.  It is one of 25 such centres around the world that aim to foster friendship between China and other countries as well as to promote awareness of and appreciation for Chinese culture and art.

The Director of the China Cultural Centre, Zhao Li said the agreement would lead to “the presentation of programs that aim to enhance the existing friendship, to encourage dialogue and foster mutual understanding”.

“We are very excited to enter into a partnership with the Adelaide Festival Centre to promote awareness of and appreciation for Chinese culture and art through cultural events and activities. The agreement will between China and Australia,” he said.

Taking in painting, sculpture, video and multimedia works, Stories of Life explores, in vivid detail, what daily life is like in rapidly changing Chinese society from the artists' own personal and spiritual points of view.

Featured in the exhibition are internationally renowned photographic artist Miao Xiaochun, famous for his digitally created works which often present an alien view of his homeland, sculptor Xiang Jing, whose eerily lifelike human forms draw on a classical aesthetic to portray the experiences of contemporary Chinese women, and award-winning multimedia artist Geng Xue.

Other featured artists include Fang Lijun, Feng Yichen, Hang Chunhui, He Weijin, Li Yousong, Liu Qi, Pan Wenxun, Qin Xiuping, Xu Hualing, Zhu Zhengmingand contemporary master of traditional ink and wash painting Liu Qinghe.

Stories of Life is curated by professor Zhao Li, co-organised by Beijing Strategic Cultural Development with academic support by Chinese Modern & Contemporary Art Document and Art Nova 100 in association with the China Cultural Centre in Sydney.

The exhibition runs to April 3.

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