Forum explores art, culture at the Stanford Center at Peking University

Participating in the China Art Forum, from left to right: Cong Zhao, Jinqing Cai, Jie Jiang, Xiuwen Cui, and Jindong Cai. (Photo Credit: Sanjiu Zhang)
Participating in the China Art Forum, from left to right: Cong Zhao, Jinqing Cai, Jie Jiang, Xiuwen Cui and Jindong Cai. (Image credit: Sanjiu Zhang)

In early July, the Center for East Asian Studies explored contemporary arts development in China in a major event at the Stanford Center at Peking University.

The China Arts Forum featured two visual artists, one performing artist, and one art market executive, all of whom were women.

JINDONG CAI, associate professor in the Center for East Asian Studies and an organizer of the China Arts Forum, said, “Widely recognized as a global economic juggernaut and nascent political power, China is on the cusp of becoming a major cultural power. In the arts field over the past two decades, cities across China have built state-of-the art museums, opera houses and concert halls to both foster and showcase their cultural heritage.”

Cai noted, “Arts education is increasingly popular. Many inspirational artists are now the toast of the international art world and ‘Chinese Contemporary’ is one of the most rapidly appreciating segments of the global art market.”

Goals of the forum were to provide a platform for exploring visual and performing arts in China, and to boost the dialogue on arts and culture between the United States and China. The event began with the two visual artists taking the podium to discuss their works and views.

JIE JIANG, a sculptor and installation artist and professor at the China Central Academy of Fine Arts, focused on three of her recent works in order to explore how an artistic creation can continue to change and evolve over time.

XIUWEN CUI recently opened a multimedia exhibition at Peking University called Light. She discussed her exhibition, its theme of light and her use of light structures to represent the human body, heart, soul and life.

JINQING CAI, chairman of Christie’s China, discussed the contemporary art market in China, and then moderated a panel discussion with all participants on arts and society in China.

After participating in the panel discussion, the renowned pipa player CONG ZHAO discussed her music and showcased newly created works to conclude the event. She was a visiting artist/scholar at Stanford in 2014 and a featured soloist with the Chinese National Orchestra. During that time, she performed Flying Fairies of the Silk Road at the 2015 Pan-Asian Music Festival at Stanford’s Bing Concert Hall.

Cong, a strong advocate for creating new music to combine Chinese tradition with the world of contemporary music, performed some of her new pieces that merge East and West on this ancient instrument, delighting the forum audience.

The forum drew more than 80 audience members, including 19 alumni of the Center for East Asian Studies and students from Beijing and Shanghai. It marked the second event in what the center hopes will become a regular series of arts and culture-related events at Stanford’s Peking site for faculty and students engaged in research, teaching, training and outreach activities in China.