I was one of thirty international artist invited to participate in a printmaking exhibition and symposium in Jingdezhen China in May and June of 2007. Fourteen of the artists, myself included, traveled to China for the opening of the exhibit and to participate in a symposium that was hosted by the Jingdezhen Sanbao Ceramic Art Institute (Jackson Li, director).
During our one month stay, we traveled as a group to a number of universities giving presentations of our own art work and learning about the art created by our Chinese colleagues and their students. Shanghai University of Fine Art, the China Academy of Fine Art at Hanzhou, and the Kun Ming Academy of Fine Art welcomed us to observe classes, talk to the students and meet with the faculty for an exchange of ideas. We quickly overcame language barriers when looking at one another’s prints and touring the studios while classes were in session. The faculty were generous with their time, making it possible for us to engage in a meaningful cultural exchange.
We also were able to use the studio at the Sanbao Ceramic Art Institute in an experimental workshop exploring art-making processes that combined Western and Eastern traditions. We printmakers worked in conjunction with Chinese ceramic artists to blend and reinvent our own contemporary Western imagery with Chinese materials. Local students interpreted the languages while we worked with the Chinese artists.
There are positive outcomes from the visit to China. Each artist that attended the exhibit and symposium will create a print in response to our time spent in China. The prints will become a portfolio that will be presented at the Southern Graphics Print Conference in March 2008. The ceramic art made by the international delegations of printmakers as well as the prints that we will make in response to our trip to China will be shown in the United State in several university galleries. And finally, we hope to make further connections with Chinese artists and students in an exhibit and symposium tentatively planned for 2009.