Confucius Institute displays work by distinguished artists

Emily DeLetter

Over 60 paintings from 13 Chinese artists are on display at the Confucius Institute exhibit in the newly refurbished space in Helm Library.

The exhibit, which opened on Wednesday, is called Exposing Chinese Culture to the World through Art. It showcases traditional Chinese painting and calligraphy.

Opening day events included demonstrations of traditional bamboo painting, followed by remarks from President Gary Ransdell and Confucius Institute Director Wei-Ping Pan.

President Ransdell opened the exhibit with commentary about the importance of the display for WKU’s students, faculty, and staff.

“One of the things I love about the location for this particular art exhibit is that it’s easily accessible,” Ransdell said. “I want as many students as possible to see the cultural distinctiveness of Chinese art.”

Ransdell continued by noting the longevity of the Chinese art tradition.

“Art like this has evolved, not through generations, but through eons of time, involving a culture that has roots so deep it’s hard for our nation to understand how far this art goes back in time,” he said.

Confucius Institute Director Wei-Ping Pan followed Ransdell, noting that the long list of goals for the institute was almost complete—with the start of the art exhibit and the grand opening of the Chinese Learning Center on campus May 5.

“[The exhibit] is a simple way to show our students that we have an art exchange with Chinese culture,” Pan said.

The paintings on display were selected with the help of 798 Art District in Beijing and are now the property of WKU, with the market value of one of the paintings worth over $60,000.

Attendees were able to view the paintings during the reception that followed the opening remarks. Taylor William, a sophomore majoring in Chinese was especially interested in the calligraphy pieces.

“I first got interested in Chinese because of their calligraphy,” said William. “It’s so interesting and different from the way we write.”

Demonstration booths also allowed guests to try their hand at bamboo painting, a traditional Chinese style of painting that requires a specific hand placement for the brush so that it never lifts off the paper.

For Brittney Gruber, a sophomore passing through the exhibit, attempting this style was much more difficult than she anticipated.

“The instructors said I was a natural, but I don’t know,” she said, “It’s a lot harder than it looks.”

Exposing Chinese Culture to the World through Art will be on display in Helm Library until May 31. Reporter Emily 

DeLetter can be reached at (270)745-0655 and [email protected]