Recontextualizing Tibetan & Qiang Folk Craft
Recontextualizing Tibetan and Qiang Folk Craft: Artwork from Aba Teachers College, Sichuan, China
This exhibition features over 70 artworks made by professors and students at Aba Teachers College, located in China’s Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture. The College promotes the philosophy, “be rooted in national culture, apply theory into practice and promote teaching innovations,” encouraging art students to learn traditional methods of Tibetan and Qiang folk art and handicraft. The Fine Arts Department reformed the fine arts education and design programs to incorporate traditional art making methods such as Tibetan and Qiang patterns, ornament and architecture through courses such as “The Design and Making of Tibetan and Qiang Tourist Handicraft”. Students not only learn traditional methods and materials of art making; courses also integrate theories of current economic and marketing practices to allow students to understand an audience that is largely based in cultural tourism.
In a region that is surrounded by rich history and a colorful folk culture, there is a need to preserve traditional culture while finding a way to subsist in an international market. The Aba Teacher’s College has taken on the crucial responsibility of trying to balance these issues of economics with preservation. This issue was brought to light in the wake of a tragic earthquake on May 12, 2008, which registered 8.0 in magnitude, killing over 68,000 people. By including traditional art and craft practices into the curriculum the College hopes to support and preserve Tibetan and Qiang culture while preparing students to navigate the global art world.
The Aba Teachers College was given an award for the best course at the provincial level by the Sichuan Provincial Department of Education. Students have participated in the Third Plateau Art Festival in Aba Prefecture, the First Panda Art Festival in Wenchuan, and won three gold medals, one silver medal, and four bronze medals in the Fourth Tourist Handicrafts Design Competition in Sichuan province, ranking the 4th among 49 colleges.
This project is led by Professor Yang Ruihong, Vice-Dean of the Fine Arts Department, with Peng Daiming (Dean), Liu Xiaoping (Instructor), Tang Ping (Associate Professor), Wang Xuemei (Associate Professor), and Luo Xiaofei (Associate Professor) This exhibition is presented in collaboration with the International Programs Office at NMU, with additional support from Associate Professor of English at NMU Z. Z. Lehmberg. Programming is presented in collaboration with the UNITED Conference at NMU, taking place September 12-16. For more information visit www.nmu.edu/united.
Friday, August 20, 6-8pm: Reception for the Artists
Monday, September 13, 7pm
Presentation by NMU graduate student and Sichuan Province native Jian Sha, about her experiences helping victims of the 2008 earthquake. Part of the UNITED conference at NMU. For more information on the UNITED Conference visit the UNITED webpage by clicking the link below.
- Friday, August 20, 6-8pm
- Reception for the Artists
- Monday, September 13, 7pm
- Presentation by NMU graduate student and Sichuan Province native Jian Sha, about her experiences helping victims of the 2008 earthquake. Part of the UNITED conference at NMU. For more information on the UNITED Conference visit the UNITED webpage by clicking the link below.