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    International students display introspection into China
    By:Wu Qiong  |  From:www.atbmusic.com  |  2019-06-24 16:59

    Curated by three international students, an exhibition featuring photographs, poetry and prose about China opened at the School of Journalism of Fudan University on June 20.

    The exhibition has a unique name: “Reflections on China: A Foreign Introspection into 亲爱的中国”. The latter part of the title translates as “Dear China”.

    Elia Sommerlad, Carla Rosso, and Gabrielle Farnier are graduates at Fudan. It was they who came up with the idea of planning a retrospective exhibition about their understanding of China from a foreign point of view.

    (From left: Carla, Elia, Gabrielle)

    Speaking of their intentions, Elia from Italy said, “We foreigners come here to China with certain notions of what China could be. Then we come here and we discover. We see with our own eyes. We get a different understanding of China. Throughout our time, we gain introspection into the beauty and the culture that this country has to offer.” Therefore, the idea of this art exhibition, according to her, is “to take people’s introspection into this country, to understand the way they perceive this beautiful country through their art and display it, so that others may understand how we, with a foreign eye, view China and our time in Shanghai.”

    (Students share their stories at the opening ceremony of the exhibition.)

    The three called for submissions among the international students at the university, and finally 19 students’ works were selected. Among them are photos taken on trips, compositions about chunyun (the spring festival travel rush) and the typical ways of dealing with people and things in China, and reflective poems on life in China.

    Pointing at her exhibits, Carla from Uruguay said, “These are my travels and experiences in China.” She said the four photos—which show different subjects like the desert, a Buddhist temple, a colorful tree and a tricycle e-bike—display the diversity of China. She explained the meaning of one photo: The e-bike in the picture is moving along, but people do not see the person riding it. This is just like what a country’s development is like: the country seems to be developing by itself, but there are actually people, sometimes seemingly invisible people, that are pushing it along.

    (Carla)

    Elia’s camera focuses on different types of people around China, especially the relationships between generations. One of her photos was taken in Suzhou, where three generations were wandering down a path, the father pushing his elderly mother in a wheelchair, her grandson sitting in her lap, and the boy’s mother and uncle walking behind. Looking at the three generations, Elia felt that China’s traditions are still inside people’s hearts.

    (Elia)

    Gabrielle displays her photos taken mostly in southwest China’s Yunnan province and two of her favorites are scenes of children learning how to write the Chinese character “人 (ren)” in a Confucius temple. “They are respectful of knowledge and willing to learn more,” said Gabrielle, believing that it is very significant and proper to China.

    (Gabrielle)

    Having finished their master’s program in Communications, Elia and Gabrielle are busy with their graduation these days. Next month, Gabrielle will move back to Paris where she has got a job, but she said she will have future chances to travel and work in China, as she will be responsible for her employer’s Asia business. “I will continue learning Chinese. And I still have a connection with China. My brother has married a Chinese woman.”

    For Elia, whose entire life story has been interwoven with China, her China story will continue. She will study for a PhD and study China-centric topics. As for Carla, she still has one year before her master’s program in Chinese Philosophy finishes next year. But she added she will continue to study Chinese. As she said, "Studying a language and getting to know its culture is a lifelong journey.”

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