Thursday, April 16
Our Half the Sky delegation was invited by LuXun Academy President Wei Er Shen to join its Vice President, Gallery Director Wang Yi Gang and some of the International Office staff in a formal dining room for a Welcome Dinner. President Wei joked that he was welcoming us at the end of our time together as a cultural exchange, but that it was also appropriate to have this time together after the opening and our events in order to celebrate their successes. Michael, our interpreter from the opening and our roundtable session sat next to President Wei and shared with us the President's official welcome speech.
In the toast and speech, he told of of some of the history about LuXun Academy, which was founded in 1938:
President Wei also spoke about the unprecedented nature of Half the Sky: Intersections in Social Practice Art. There have been women's art exhibitions in China before, but not with the intentions associated with this one, where the focus was on collaboration, interactions, sharing of women's lives as artists and concerned citizens.
On more personal notes, he talked about his enjoyment of western music, particularly that of Karen Carpenter, and US cities such as New York City.
As was customary and expected, I also made a toast in gratitude to President Wei Er Shen for inviting the Women's Caucus for Art to Shenyang, to Gallery Director Wang Yi Gang for letting us use the beautiful gallery, for the generous and kind staff and academicians who assisted us shared this rich and meaningful experience with us. I complimented the Academy's peaceful and inspiring setting and the enthusiasm of its students.
The huge round table meant that the official conversation between President Wei Er Shen, Priscilla Otani, Jing Deng and myself was difficult to hear by others, but we all shared the delicious local foods that were presented on the large glass turntable - each of us nabbing bits each as they rotated by.
President Wei announced the official end of the dinner when he noticed that our eating was slowing down. He and the Academy staff departed after much gratitude among us all. Our delegation stayed around the table to have a warm satisfying debrief of our experiences so far.
This blog documents Half the Sky: Intersections in Social Practice Art, a cultural exchange and exhibition created by the International Caucus of the Women’s Caucus for Art and in partnership with and at the LuXun Academy of Fine Arts, located in Shenyang, Liaoning Province, China from April 15-30, 2014.
Delegates of Half the Sky: Intersections in Social Practice Art will post and comment on this blog.