The “Reading China” event series now has an overseas version. From February 18 to 19, 2018, Vancouver held a temple fair in Zhongshan Park, called “Reading China: Phoenix Cultural Temple Fair — Happy Spring Festival in Vancouver, 2018.” The event was hosted by the Phoenix Publishing & Media Group and Dawa Business Press and received support and guidance from the Ministry of Culture and CCTSS. Judy Wilson-Raybould, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Tong Xiaolin, Chinese Consul General of Vancouver, and Bruce Ralston, Director of Trade and Technology of British Columbia, made speeches at the event, which attracted over 150 people and included the representatives of institutions of higher education, high schools, libraries, and Chinese communities throughout Vancouver and British Columbia. Representatives of Dawa Business Press and businesses that cooperate with Phoenix Publishing & Media Group in Canada were also in attendance along with members of local media.
"Reading China" Invites Sinologists to Join the Dialogue
Phoenix Publishing & Media Group, which belongs to CCTSS, is the largest and most powerful group in China’s cultural industry. It highly values the promotion of Chinese culture across the world. During the Chinese Traditional Spring Festival, apart from the demonstration of fine books and Phoenix exclusive products that were on display at the fair in Vancouver, the company also organized a “Reading China” salon. Both famous painters from Jiangsu and sinologists from Canada were invited to share their knowledge of the cultural stories behind many Chinese ancient paintings. As one of the events to celebrate the Spring Festival with Chinese residents of Vancouver and local citizens, the event contributed a flavor of literature and culture to proceedings by using a “one exhibition, one book, and one lecture” format.
During the event, the delegation of Phoenix Publishing & Media Group visited the Dawa Business Press and Vancouver Chinese Culture Center, recommending to them its series of work, “Symbols of Jiangsu.” Meanwhile, they held a ceremony to celebrate the launch of both the Chinese and English version of the work. “Symbols of Jiangsu,” published by Phoenix Publishing & Media Group, represents the richest symbolic example of Jiangsu’s cultural DNA and has received great approval in this regard. It also contains a lot of detailed interpretations of its contents given by a range of experts. Such efforts to introduce and disseminate the cultural relics and intangible cultural heritage of Chinese civilization were appreciated by the Chinese, local, and foreign guests of the event.
At the temple fair, the “Reading China” salon drew many Chinese and foreign visitors’ attention due to its characteristic demonstration of Chinese traditions. Along the theme of interpreting distinctive Jiangsu cultural symbols, Han Ningning and Luo Ji, two famed painters from Jiangsu and the Canadian sinologist Jan Walls held an open and vivid discussion on interpretations of the book Jiangsu Chinese Paintings. They shared their opinions on how to appreciate a Chinese painting, what a painting is essentially trying to tell a viewer, and how to be a qualified painter. Han explained that every minute an artist spends on their painting demands ten years of practice and that though a painting may seem simple, it likely cost the creator decades of hard work. The audience, including students from the Vancouver Chinese Culture Center and Beijing Chinese School as well as some experts, all commented that they found the lecture very helpful for learning more about Chinese paintings and their stories. Some even added that they felt they’d attended a brilliantly informative Chinese culture reading class.
“Happy Spring Festival” helps to align people’s hearts
“Happy Spring Festival” plays an important role in making Chinese traditional culture known to the world. During the festival, there are about 20 traditional activities, including art exhibitions and temple fairs that are held in more than 400 cities across 130 countries. As Chinese Spring Festival culture spreads throughout the world, it starts to interest more and more foreigners. The “Reading China: Phoenix Cultural Fair — Happy Spring Festival in Vancouver, 2018” is considered a key way for Spring Festival to enter Canada.
The “Phoenix Cultural Fair” is definitely a cultural feast. In addition to the lecture, Han Ningning and Luo Ji also wrote spring couplets for the visitors. They wrote the Chinese character “Fu,” meaning fortune, as a way to send their best wishes out to all who took part. Yet again, people were charmed by Chinese art, this time in the form of the artists’ exquisite calligraphy. The couplets were popular with many visitors, especially the youth, and provided them with a chance to enjoy an ancient Chinese cultural art form. In addition, more than 10 types of the Phoenix series of artifacts and Chinese traditional art products, including moon-shaped fans, lacquer works, and high-quality copies of famous paintings, were exhibited at the event.
The fair also attracted Yao Jiliang, a well-known local painter who attended along with his foreign students, and Cai Xianfan, a famous spring couplet calligrapher, who gave away couplets and shared his experiences with calligraphy and painting, evoking great interest among the Chinese students and foreigners. Moreover, the leader of Canada Western Education Group, Austin, who speaks Mandarin very well, talked with Professor.
Wang Jian and the painters Han Ningning and Luo Ji about how to learn and teach Chinese.
Han Ningning told reporters that he had painted and given away dozens of couplets in barely more than two hours. He added that the great impact Chinese traditional culture has on Vancouver has been very clear to him since he arrived there on Chinese New Year's Eve. Professor Luo Ji also expressed his excitement at the event, “I can feel a strong Chinese cultural atmosphere in Vancouver. I hope what we have written and painted will bring more spiritual joy to tourists and help to spread Chinese culture.”
The event received much attention from both domestic and foreign media, including China News, China Culture, China Overseas, Jiangsu China, and Modern Express.