Exhibit explores art and reform in China

February 23rd, 2011  |  by  |  Published in Campus News

chinese caligraphy

Marking the hundredth anniversary of the Xinhai Revolution, the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Art Gallery presents The Reformer’s Brush: Modernity and Traditional Media in China.

The revolution saw the abdication of the 6-year-old last emperor of the Qing Dynasty and led ultimately to the founding of the Republic of China. The exhibition explores how many of the men at the center of the debates over modernization also cultivated traditional practices of painting and calligraphy in ways that reflected the very questions of modernization and change.

Works include paintings and calligraphy from late 19th- and early 20th-century China on loan from the collections of Ernest and Letah Lee and Chin-tang Lo. The Reformer’s Brush showcases the artworks, lives and ambitions of leaders Chiang Kai-shek, Mei Lanfang, Liang Qichao, Kang Youwei, Guo Moruo and others.

The exhibition opens with a lecture by UH Mānoa Assistant Professor of History Shana Brown titled Do Great Political Thinkers Make Great Artists? Visual Culture as a Medium for Reform in Turn-of-the-Century China at 2 p.m. Feb. 27 in the Art Auditorium, followed by a reception at 3 p.m.

The exhibition continues through April 8. Hours are 10:30 a.m.–5 p.m. weekdays except holidays and noon–5 p.m. Sunday; admission is free. A film series providing insight into the history, culture and lives of people at the time of the revolution is planned with screenings at 3:30 p.m. each Sunday beginning March 6.

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