SALISBURY, MD---Their home is Suzhou: one of China’s most ancient and beautiful cities. Often called the Venice of Asia, its Old Town is famed for historic gardens, canals and pagodas. Pronounced “Sue-joe,” the city was praised by Marco Polo and was part of the Yangze River’s ancient silk route. Today this metropolis of 6.3 million is also one of China’s most prosperous industrial centers (second only to Shanghai), known for its textile and hi-tech industries. Traditionally, Suzhou has been a cradle for talent and celebrities.
Their reputations are international: works are regularly exhibited in Europe, Canada and Japan. Among them are several award winners whose art is sought after by collectors in New York, Paris, Tokyo and Bangkok. Younger members are known across Suzhou and much of China.
On Thursday, November 4, from 1-3 p.m. eight of China’s most highly regarded artists demonstrate that nation’s traditional painting technique in Fulton Hall near the Gallery at Salisbury University. They will create two large scrolls of calligraphy as a gift—and gesture of friendship—to the Fulton School of Liberal Arts and the University. The public is cordially invited. “We are delighted to have artists of this stature on our campus,” said Dr. Maarten Pereboom, dean of the Charles R. and Martha N. Fulton School of Liberal Arts.
The remarkable visit follows a trip by SU educators to China during the summer. Suzhou was part of that itinerary in a spirit of support for its ongoing relationship with the Eastern Shore, said Dr. Brian Stiegler, director of SU’s Center for International Education (CIE). (The Canglang District of Suzhou and Queen Anne’s County have had a “Sister County” relationship since 2005. In China, cities are often larger than counties.) The SU delegation visited Suzhou University, several K-12 public schools and the municipal government. The ties that emerged led the Suzhou Municipal Foreign Affairs Office to include Salisbury as part of the artists’ Eastern Shore visit. Although the Sister County relationship between China and Wicomico’s mid-Shore neighbor has resulted in many exchanges over the years, this is the first excursion to Salisbury. “We are honored to return the warm hospitality shown to our University this past summer,” added Stiegler.
SU student Henghai “Karl” Zhou, a native of Suzhou, is a graduate assistant in the CIE, completing his Master of Arts in Conflict Analysis and Dispute Resolution. Interestingly, his father is a mediator and his mother a judge in China. Zhou accompanied the SU delegation during its summer visit to his home country and his parents warmly received University officials.
Although the names of the visitors--Qi Chunlan, Xu Huiquan, Chen Jianjun, Sun Junliang, Shen Minyi, Zhang Xiaofei, Dai Yunliang and Chen Weibing—may be unknown here, the beauty of their art, which often includes landscapes and people at work, may strike a chord with Eastern Shore residents. The artists hope to visit SU’s Ward Museum while in Salisbury.
Chinese painting is one of the oldest continuous artistic traditions in the world. The gift presentation will be made at 5 p.m. For more information call 410-543-6030 or visit the SU Web site at www.salisbury.edu.