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Weaving the wonder of bamboo

By Li Yingxue | China Daily | Updated: 2023-11-23 07:53

Qian shows his artistry. CHINA DAILY

Joint Ideas

Besides his Taihu Lake Stone installation, Qian also displayed 12 woven bamboo patterns in unique shapes and colors that attracted attention at the expo.

He says that many visitors to the CIIE do not possess an in-depth understanding of bamboo weaving, and that most were more interested in its beauty. "The way we weave bamboo can capture and express this beauty, which is why it resonates with audiences, and is appreciated by them."

The Joint Laboratory of Digital Cultural Trade, a cultural trade platform, was responsible for introducing Qian's work to the China Pavilion at the CIIE, and the work was displayed alongside that of another inheritor of intangible cultural heritage.

Launched last September, the Joint Lab plays the role of think tank, bridge and platform. It focuses on the digital cultural trade industry and is dedicated to building an online and offline platform for cultural trade, as well as to promoting cultural exchange and cooperation with other countries.

Yang Zhaojie, a Joint Lab representative, explains that they chose to showcase Qian's work because it is innovative and easily understood by foreign audiences, adding that his work has also influenced international exhibitions.

"We aspire to leverage the CIIE as a platform for enhanced cultural exchange and trade, to more effectively promote Qian's work. Ultimately, our goal is to propel him more successfully onto the global stage."

Yang says that many people find Qian's work stunning, and that it raises a myriad of questions, and adds that foreign institutions have expressed interest in collaborating with the lab, opening up numerous possibilities.

Inheritors of intangible cultural heritage from other areas are also introducing their work to the Joint Lab, in the hope of finding assistance to showcase their talent on the global stage.

Pei Lifan, another representative of the lab, met Qian at an exhibition in Shanghai two years ago, and was impressed by his bamboo weaving. When the lab launched last year, she invited him to join the platform and has worked with him on several occasions.

In March, Qian was invited to create a bamboo installation, Serpentine, for the Bulgari exhibition in Shanghai Serpenti: 75 Years of Infinite Tales, that fully demonstrated his innovative and international perspective of the time-honored craft.

In August, he held a two-week solo exhibition The Present Tense of Chinese Bamboo Weaving in Tokyo, and all his pieces sold out in the first two days.

During Art Market Budapest in October, his collaboration with visual artist Yuan Zeming also sold out, and he signed intentions of cooperation with many cultural institutions.

Pei says that the collaboration with Qian has provided both parties with fresh avenues for development.

"One of his standout qualities is his consistent ability to push boundaries. At times, during our collaborative efforts, he himself is breaking through his own limitations," Pei says.

"For example, our focus had been on the promotion and innovation of intangible cultural heritage. However, since engaging with Qian, we've realized that bamboo weaving patterns can undergo digital transformations. This includes the exciting prospect of employing digital models for international e-commerce."

Many young people were captivated by Qian's exhibit. Pei expressed deep satisfaction with this engagement. "We initially believed that reaching the younger generation in terms of heritage was a formidable challenge. However, Qian's art demonstrates that he swiftly gained international acclaim because it resonates with modern aesthetics."

Pei says that Qian and the lab are planning a hotel collaboration, decorating rooms in a bamboo weaving theme, and devising bamboo-themed afternoon tea and dinner events.

"We believe that his creations are soothing to people. From a traditional Chinese cultural heritage standpoint, we hope that once people see them, they will share them of their own accord. We are confident that Qian's work perfectly meets this need," she says.

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