The Second Chinese Calligraphy Exhibition (October 1997)

Xiaoguang Wang

The Second Chinese Calligraphy Exhibition is being held in UMass Graduate Lounge from October 16 to November 7, 1997. About twenty pieces are displayed, including works or collections of faculty members and students in the Five College area, as well as those from some Boston and New York artists. A live demonstration, a gallery talk, and a practice by audience will be offered at 4pm-5pm on Wednesday, October 22. A Harvard professor will give a lecture on October 31. The admission is free, including the demonstration and the lecture.

Sino-American Group of Amherst (SAGA) is the curator of this exhibition. An intellectual organization constituted by Five College students, faculty members, and local residents, SAGA has made every effort to promote cross-cultural communications through lectures, discussions and exhibitions. It has organized 36 seminars and 2 exhibitions since 1995.

Calligraphy means ``artistic writing.'' The Chinese writing system, standardized two thousand years ago, is one of humankind's most startling and evocative ways of representing language and meaning in two dimensional space. ``Not only a profound art on its own,'' writes Prof. Jonathan Lipman at Mount Holyoke College, ``Chinese calligraphy also constitutes a foundation for Chinese painting, architecture, and other plastic arts. Many critics consider it the ultimate artistic expression.'' While being an ancient art form in East Asia for thousands of years, calligraphy is hardly known by people from other cultural backgrounds. However, different from most languages in the world, Chinese characters are basically images. Understanding the meaning of the characters is not a necessity to appreciate, or even practice, Chinese calligraphy. SAGA believes such an exhibition will greatly enrich the culture activities on the UMass campus.

The exhibition is in memory of Professor Fred Fangyu Wang, a world-known master calligrapher who just passed away in early October. Invited by SAGA, Prof. Wang came to Five College area and gave a lecture on how to appreciate calligraphy in February 1997. One of his pieces is being shown in this exhibition.

Live Demonstration, Gallery Talk, and Free Practice

Some special events will take place in the Graduate Lounge at 4pm-5pm on Wednesday, October 22. A live calligraphy demonstration will be offered by Professor Zhongwei Shen, Department of Asian Languages and Literatures. Bingyi Huang, a SAGA member, will lead a gallery talk for the audiences. In the meantime, SAGA invites all the audiences to practice calligraphy by themselves. The audiences will have an opportunity to play with Chinese brush, ink and paper, and to make their own pieces. Based on the belief that understanding the language is not a necessity for practicing calligraphy art, non-Chinese speakers are expecially encouraged to join this practice.

Lecture on Chinese Art

Invited by SAGA, Harvard Professor Eugene Wang will come to UMass campus and give a lecture on Chinese art at 8pm on Friday, October 31 (903 Campus Center).

This exhibition is made possible by grants from Students Affairs Cultural Enrichment Fund, Art Council, and Graduate Student Senate.