Last week, Florida A&M University’s Foster-Tanner Fine Arts Gallery hosted Tallahassee’s first-ever exhibit of Chinese Art.
Dr. Liu Nan, assistant professor of art at FAMU and the curator of the exhibit, co-hosted by the Tallahassee Chinese Association, said he wanted to give Tallahassee a glimpse of Chinese culture.
“In Tallahassee, it’s hard to get this kind of art show,” said Liu. “In New York City you can see this at the Metropolitan Museum and visit Asian and Latin American cultures, but in Tallahassee I think this will be a good cultural event.”
In two weeks, Liu selected 29 pieces —including paintings from his students and his own son, Ethan.
The exhibit showed different mediums of art: painting, sculptures, jewelry, photography, martial arts and live folk songs. Paintings were from local Chinese artists and visiting Chinese artist Ye Xu Xuan of the Zhu Jia Calligraphy Institute in Su Zhou, China.
“He [Ye Xu Xuan] opened a calligraphy institute for 30 years. He’s really good, a renowned, international artist for Calligraphy painting,” said Liu.
Xuan was visiting his relatives in Tallahassee and he was looking for a place to display his art when Liu asked him to display some of his pieces at the exhibit. All of Xuan’s paintings were created in Tallahassee and they are traditional Chinese paintings.
The exhibit was not only for the Tallahassee community to experience the 500-year-old culture but to also influence the young artists. The exhibit was apart of the four-week Horizon’s Art Camp, which teaches children from ages 6 through 12. The summer camp was taught by the FAMU Visual Art department to expose children to diverse cultures through art.
“All the children here study [art] and we want to open a different window to them, a different experience,” said Liu.
Aja Roache, Foster Tanner’s Gallery Coordinator and visiting professor said, “We were excited to have art for the art lovers. I think he [Liu] shows a great range of traditional Chinese art work.”
Liu also gave a demonstration of calligraphy to about 100 people. He said when studying Chinese art it was a requirement to know about past artist so students understand the tradition and appreciate the art.
“You must know the masters. Learn and then you create”, said Liu.
In calligraphy he said, “White spaces leave room for imagination. The paper should not be filled.”
Tallahassee Chinese Martial Arts Center performed Tai Chi and the traditional Lion and Dragon Festival dance.
The Martial Arts Center has been around for ten years and their vision is to let more people know about Chinese martial arts and to practice it.
Lisa Liu, the wife of the owner of the center, said, “Martial Arts creates a bridge between American and Chinese culture.” Chinese Martial art is important for healing and for health.
Lisa Liu said her husband wants to spread Chinese culture and the center was also showing support for Liu’s exhibit.
The Chinese Art Exhibition will be on view until June 22.