There Is No Reason That Australian and Chinese People Can’t Be Friends
2021-12-13 16:17

Remarks by Wang Xining, Charge d’affaires ad iterim at the opening ceremony of the Exhibition 

“Sculpting the Soul” at the National Museum of Australia

Dear Mr. Mathew Trinca, Director of the National Museum of Australia,

Representative of the first nations of Canberra,

Colleagues and friends,

On behalf of the Chinese Embassy, I’d like to congratulate the National Museum of Australia on the opening of the Exhibition of “Sculpting the Soul” in collaboration with the National Art Museum of China (NAMOC).

As art lovers, we know that we need to see a visual artwork on-site and listen to music live, in order to absorb the aesthetic power and provoke cognitive repercussions.

Just now, we listened to the wonderful performance of didgeridoo by the representative of the first nations. It is the first time for me to hear the musical instrument live and it instantly remove my stereotype and bias on aboriginal music.

I only had a brief glimpse of the three exhibits, but I agree with Mr. Trinca and Mr. Wu Weishan, director of NAMOC, on their combination of Chinese art traditions and artistic ideas from the West.

The “Sleeping Child” by Mr. We Weishan reminds me of both August Rodin and portraits of boys on Ming Dynasty porcelains.

The “Yak” by Mr. Liu Kaiqu has some flavor of Brancusi but more of semblance of Tang Dynasty painting of oxen.

The “Horse” by Mr. Xiong Bingming carries certain imprint of Giacometti but one could feel on it the brushstrokes of 20th century Chinese master Xu Beihong.

The enjoyment of viewing these sculptures on-site is far more profound than seeing them on photos.

In the same vein, we need to meet in person and talk face-to-face, in order to deepen mutual  understanding and forge stronger bond.

That is why my colleague and I value so much this occasion to meet our friends in person, after a long and tedious lock-down in ACT.

This exhibition is a token of common aspiration of the Australian and Chinese artists and people for more exchanges and deeper understanding.

The three sculptures arrived at this museum ahead of visitors from China. They serve as the vanguard of friendship and people-to-people exchange. It shows that art and culture may serve as the vanguard of relationship building between our two countries.

For a sculptor, it takes a chisel and a hammer to uncover the soul of marble. For people, it takes hardship and sometimes trauma to sculpt the soul of a nation.

For many Australians and Chinese, COVID is no less a traumatizing experience. But in general, both the Australian and Chinese people sail through this difficult time with commendable success and good experiences.

I find that our people have many things in common, such as giving priority to protecting life and health, preserving solidarity of community in face of crisis, creating opportunities for those we care and love, and many others.

There are so many common values that we share and present at this challenging juncture. I believe that there is no reason that Australian and Chinese people can’t be good friends.

We all hope that COVID will be gone as early as possible and life will return to normal.

We all hope that people-to-people exchange will return to normal, which will surely contribute to enhancing mutual understanding and promoting mutually-beneficial collaboration.

We all hope that friendly connection and rapport between our peoples will return to normal, if not more solid and strong after repeated heating and quenching.

The embassy is ready to work with the National Museum and friends from all art and culture institutions to engage in more exchange programs and jointly push forward cross-board cooperation between our two countries that go in line with comprehensive strategic relationship.

Thank you.

Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the Commonwealth of Australia
Address: 15 Coronation Drive, Yarralumla, ACT 2600
Tel: 0061-2-62283999, Fax: 0061-2-62283836
E-mail: chinaemb_au@mfa.gov.cn
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