The following is a translation from a China Radio International (CRI, Chinese-language) article, published on Friday. Links within blockquotes added during translation – JR
China Tibet Contemporary Art Exhibition Launched in Berlin (中国西藏当代画展在柏林开展)
Online report by reporter Yin Fan — On the evening of April 12 local time, the China Tibet art exhibition “Tibet Impressions” [German: “Tibetische Impressionen“] opened at the China Cultural Center in Berlin.
It features 42 works by twelve contemporary artists of all ages, reflecting the [Tibetan] Plateau’s characteristics. Among these works, there are ones reflecting the Plateau’s old history and modern civilization, and there is no lack of religious deep thought and ethnic customs, as well as Tibetan fine arts works of meticulous composed, well-developed, coordinated and varied fine and delicated paintings and age-old, historic Thangkas.
According to the introduction, the works shown at “Tibetan Impressions” is the first group of Tibetan contemporary paintings on display in Germany, and even in Europe. The organizers hope that this kind of exchange and dialog can form a bridge to the snow-covered plateau, and help German friends from all walks of life to better understand the development and changes of Tibetan traditional culture. At the same time, the artists from Tibet also have the opportunity to understanding outstanding German culture and fine arts.1)
2012 marks the 40th anniversary of establishing Sino-German diplomatic relations. To celebrate this, China holds “Chinese Cultural Year” activities in Germany during the year, to reinforce the promotion of better mutual understanding between the two countries’ people. The “Tibetan Impressions” exhibition is one of these activities.
It is organized by the Tibet Autonomous Region Federation of Literary and Art Circles2), and the China Cultural Center in Berlin. It is scheduled to go on until April 20th, and will then continue in Cologne.
1) One can easily overinterpret things, but the way the article puts this – “lái zì xīzàng de yìshùjiā yěyǒu jīhuì liǎojiě xuéxí déguó yōuxiù de wénhuà yìshù” – might either be interpreted as a free tour of foreign works, or as a guided one, in accordance with the 17th Central Committee’s Culture Document‘s prescription:
Actively absorb and learn from outstanding foreign cultural achievements. Adhere to the principles of self-dependance, self-regardness, to learning from every experience that helps to strengthen the building of our country’s socialist construction, from all positive achievements that can enrich our people’s cultural life, from everything that is conducive to our country’s cultural activities, and to its cultural management concepts and mechanisms.
2) In a blogpost based on a feature program she previously wrote for Radio Free Asia (RFA), Woeser remembered a political inspection during the time when she worked for the Tibet Autonomous Region Federation of Literary and Art Circles’ Tibetan Literature, magazine more than a decade earlier. She wrote the post in January 2011. From an English translation:
I remember, ten to twelve years ago, I was an editor of “Tibetan Literature”, which belonged to the Tibet Autonomous Region Federation of Literary and Art Circles. One day Jamyang Sherab, a good friend of mine who has already passed away, told me that the next day the head of the Tibet Autonomous Region Federation of Literary and Art Circles was going to inspect the homes of all Tibetan staff and I should quickly hide my portrait of Gyalwa Rinpoche (the Dalai Lama), which I had standing in the Buddhist altar at home. Jamyang Sherab was the Vice-Chairman of the Writers’ Union and hence of course informed of this secret action to inspect the houses of Tibetans. The Tibet Autonomous Region Federation of Literary and Art Circles employed about 70 staff, of which half were Han Chinese and half Tibetan, and reportedly, they were only going to check Tibetan people’s houses, not those of the Han.