Miao People of China are Hmong

The Miao People are scattered across Southeast Asia and really have no homeland of their own. The Miao People of China are Hmong. This minority people is responsible for extraordinary arts and crafts, which are extending throughout the world – an accelerating commercial success. Recently Facebook was shocked by a video about Miao Dancing on Water: The Chinese Art of Bamboo Drifting.

Miao

The Miao People migrate throughout Southeast Asia and, as the result of the Vietnam War, have settled in the USA and other Western Countries. The clothing, jewelry, dance, and music are all very distinctive, as is the Miao language itself (Hmong-Mien).
MiaoClothingThis culture is very “nature” oriented and the Miao culture has spread with the environmental movement and is becoming increasingly poplar in China. Google has posted an awesome array of Miao photos at:
Google Search of Miao and Hmong:

This web site has featured a variety of articles on the Miao Phenomenom:
 Tour Guizhou Search on Miao

 

Root Art at Shirley’s

Wu Xiao Yon and Jack

Artist Wu Xiao Yon and Jack.

The Shirley Gallery had the opening of a new exhibit, Root Art, on January 12. These are the sculptures of Wu Xiao Yon. They are created from the art of mother nature (and the hand of Artist Wu), that is buried in the dirt, usually unseen. Artist Wu took maximum advantage of nature’s art in his sculptures. Whatever you do, don’t throw that old stump away . . .

Jack is intrigued by the head with the ear ring.

The eagle head in the lower right is part of an eagle sculpture that pictures really don’t do justice. It must be seen in person to be appreciated.

Visit link:Shirley Gallery

Shirley Gallery

72 Jian Dao Jie
Guiyang, Guizhou
(0851)86676222/86911000

 

Zheng Bo

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Zheng Bo has some beautiful art in his magazine (City Archive) and when I met him he invited me to his CITY. I call it CITY because that is what is on the wall of his place. After going through it, I couldn’t really decide it as an office, or a publishing house, an art gallery, studio, or jewelry store. I just call it Mr. Zheng’s CITY.

As an amateur photographer I like to nose around, taking pictures of everything. As Mr. Zheng chatted with my friend, he said it was OK for me to move around and take some pictures. His CITY has a lot of beautiful art, and Miao jewelry. The best description of me, when I’m after  a story, might be like a dog. A dog will sniff around everything, looking for any kind of scents that are a little different. The CITY provided me with a lot of very interesting photos. I imagine every piece of art has a story behind it. I don’t recall any blank walls or empty desks. Every wall has art, every desk has something pretty, or interesting.

20161126_165628I was fully engrossed in something when I heard the click of a camera. I noticed Mr. Zheng was there, taking pictures of me. So what, I was taking pictures of his stuff. He just smiled and gave a wave. I nodded as if to say, “Take all the pictures you want, fair is fair.” As a foreigner, I am often asked to pose for pictures. Foreigners are a bit rare in Guizhou, maybe like pandas. I forgot about Mr. Zheng and his beautiful camera.

As I was satisfying my curiosity about his CITY, I noticed Mr. Zheng’s technique. As I move a bit like a dog, nosing around, Mr. Zheng moves like a cat, perhaps like a cat stalking a bird, or a lion stalking a zebra. 20161126_170406

He is quiet, inconspicuous, and always on balance. He holds the camera stable, and has a solid base. As he squeezes off a photo, he moves the camera slightly for the next shot, making sure that the light, framing, and focus are just right. He doesn’t take just one photo, but at least two or three from a position. He didn’t ask me to pose. He prefers a natural photo, with the subject unaware of the camera. That is why he learned to move so quietly, almost invisible to his subject. I forgot he was taking my pictures, but at the same time, I studied his technique. Just as I am an amateur photographer, he is a pro.

When I came to China I would often ask students what their parents did for a living. Almost always they would describe a parent as either a worker, or a boss. It is like there are only two jobs in China, worker or boss. In the West, we often make the judgment about a person based on what they do. 20161126_165610A journalist tells a story and a reporter reports the facts. A college professor is an intellectual and a teacher, and a student is just learning, An artist is creative, and a publisher brings together all the pieces of storytelling, from recruiting talent to keeping finances in order. A photographer can be like a reporter, or a story teller. 20161126_164944-copySo I had a little trouble putting Mr. Zheng into a category: publisher, teacher, artist, journalist, businessman, or perhaps salesman. He is definitely a worker. He is all of the above. Perhaps a new category, Crossover Master, could describe Mr. Zheng. He has worn so many hats. Describing those activities is beyond the scope of this blog post. I hope to revisit this fellow.

As we were leaving I asked if I could have another interview, because I really didn’t seem to understand enough. He said OK and gave me his name card . . . College Professor Zheng. He said he didn’t have much time in Guiyang because he was busy with his job in Taijiang County. He is Secretary General there.

VISIT CITY ARCHIVE ON WECHAT
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Gallery Party was a Great Success

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Yin Guang Zhong and Jack

Thanks to everybody who came to the Gallery Party Tuesday, the 27th. We raised over 3,000 RMB for the benefit of the Shirley Gallery. There were 20 door prizes good food and lots of beer and wine. Beer and wine was provided courtesy of The Run Ran Wine Company of Jin Yang, Guizhou Lai Yong Chu White Wine Company, and the Monkey King Brewery. Beka Coffee Business Concern donated the coffee and cakes.

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Left to Right: Jian Ren Yi, his wife, Shirley, Yin Guang Zhong, An Yi Rong, Liu Hai Bin

Special Guest Artists Yin Guang Zhong, An Yu Rong, Jian Ren Yi, Liu Hai Bin, Gao An Xun  shared their feelings about changes in the art world in Guizhou. Yin Shi Long had his art on display in the gallery and joined in the talk. Food was great, donated by the Yuting Xuan Restaurant of 72 Jian Dao Jie. A fine time was had by all.

 

The View from China . . . 2016 USA Election

It has been one month since the election of 2016. This will be my first blog post that is purely political, something I have steadfastly refused to do on this www.tourguizhou.com website.  So I have waited a month to decide whether this feeling of sharing my ideas to the larger community diminishes. It doesn’t. Fair enough. This subject affects the foreigner in China, particularly Americans.

After being forced (age limit) into retirement from my university teaching job in Guiyang, China, I have spent my time on the internet, tutoring children of friends, and travelling. I’ve spend about eight or nine months a year in China, and am prepared to continue this pattern for the “long term”, whatever the hell that means at age 66 (next month).

I made it a point to return to my home town, Traverse City, to make sure my vote got counted in the Presidential election. Two years ago the express mail lost my ballot. (see http://www.tourguizhou.com/archives/9934 ) Also, I felt an urge to be with “my people” (whatever the hell that means) during this crucial time in the history of my country. When I arrived, I was immediately besieged by my countrymen who told me that I “must” vote for ______ because if ______ wins, it will be the end of the world, or worse. I told everybody that I planned to vote for Jill Stein because I don’t have to vote for anybody I don’t like, and I didn’t like either of the major party candidates. Jill Stein is the leader of the Green Party, and Presidential Candidate.  For the life of me, I don’t know why she couldn’t persuade Bernie to take her place and run for President on the Green Party ticket. Their platforms are almost identical.

So how I voted is really irrelevant to this post, but it exposes my bias for all to know.  I like trees, and flowers, and chirping birds, and I like to swim in clean water with my mouth open, no worries. I grew up in Cadillac (Michigan, USA), an area of clean lakes and rivers, and never had a problem swimming until I swam in the ocean once and realized that I swim with my mouth open . . .

Back to the subject, it was two weeks after the election, and I was at an English Corner in Guiyang. (English Corners are places where Chinese come to practice their English.) It is an exceptional English corner in that it is patronized by young people with an exceptionally high level of English. Many of the 20 or 25 people in the room have lived overseas, or are just good students. The topic for discussion was the US Election, and I had just returned from the US. As a kind of a warm-up, they had a question about who the heads were on Mount Rushmore. Everybody was stumped about who was this Teddy Roosevelt guy. I explained that he was one of the most famous presidents in the US history and that he helped win the Spanish American War. If that hadn’t happened, we (America) probably wouldn’t be “over here” (an Asian power). Winning that war awarded the Philippines to the US. Roosevelt also broke up the big “Trusts” (corporations) that were controlling our economy.

After telling them about my experience in the US, a lot of people said their feelings about the election, and surprisingly there was a lot of Trump support. What I found most surprising was that nobody seemed to care whether anybody was right or wrong. In China the Communist Party is responsible for governing the country, not the people. The people in the English corner really had no incentive to convince each other who was right or wrong. It wasn’t their business. It was an extremely friendly discussion, just about the opposite of what I left in the USA. It was kind of refreshing to have an intelligent discussion about politics without anybody emotionally freaking out.

Then each person was asked who their favorite presidents were in all of history, anywhere in the world. It was a surprising list of very diverse opinions. Everybody seemed to respect each other’s opinions and there were USA Presidents listed, Chinese Presidents, and a few others from around the world.

Everybody seemed curious about who I would name as my favorite two Presidents. I said that I really didn’t remember the guy’s name, but if you saw “Independence Day” my favorite President he was the guy that got in the jet and went up to fight off the aliens.  He actually united the world to fight the aliens . . . They didn’t buy that explanation, but it got a good laugh. I just said that he was the President that I wish we had. I went on to say that my favorite President was Ford. He was the only one that never was elected as President or VP. He pardoned Nixon, which was the right thing to do, and he defied Congress when he wanted to get the American babies out of Vietnam (Babylift).

I had a chance to explain how our system works a little bit. In 1974 Ford was in charge of getting the US out of Vietnam. Congress cut off the funds, saying that no money could be used for Vietnam. Ford was very strong. He said that American soldiers had wives and babies in Vietnam and the babies were American Citizens. It was our duty to bring them home. Congress had a majority of Democrats in both houses and was very happy to embarrass the President. Getting the GI’s babies home was less important to them than embarrassing the President. Instead of whining and complaining, Ford said that he was Commander and Chief of the military and he would get the money to bring those babies home.

Ford went around the country talking to groups of Americans and explaining that we had a duty to the soldiers and those American babies in Vietnam. He got the money privately and brought the babies home. Ford had the guts to do what was right. When Dr. Henry Kissinger, who the Chinese know well, was once asked who he thought was the best President of all that he had worked with, he said that Gerald Ford was the closest thing to a real human that ever occupied the White House.  Abe Lincoln, who freed the slaves, and saved the Union, was my second choice.

 

Shirley’s Private Gallery of Guiyang

shelly1I first came to Shirley’s gallery on November 26 and met the beautiful proprietor, Shirley (Xiao Li). She had an exhibition of the local artist named Yin Shi Long. His art and sculptures were very impressive, and I found myself having dinner with a variety of artists in her restaurant. Shirley’s story is as interesting as Artist Yin’s work. Shirley has opened a second floor gallery in one of the most entanceexclusive locations in Guiyang, downtown on Jian Dao Jie, beside the river. Shirley is able to support the artists of Guizhou because of her successful clothing business and restaurant. The restaurant is on the first floor and the gallery is directly above.
pillowShe is so successful that she has her own pillows with her face on it. She also has T-Shirts, batteries, silk scarves, postcards and my favorite mouse pad.mousepad

Shirley takes her inspiration from her art teacher, Chen HongQi. He has been an established artist in Guiyang many years, and some of his art is shown below, taken from his recently published book.

The gallery is supporting the artist community of Guizhou, having featured the art of seventeen local artists. These artists are not charged any money for this premier location. Shirley is an art collector and often accepts gifts of art from the artists that she helps.

Shirley urges everyone to buy the art to help maintain the artist community. We discussed the art scene extensively over coffee in her gallery on Tuesday (Dec 6, 2016). Interested patrons of Guizhou Art can write tourguizhou@gmail.com for more information.

Shirley Gallery

72 Jian Dao Jie
Guiyang, Guizhou
(0851)86676222/86911000

 

 

 

Deng’s 80th Birthday

 

On the 11th of November the Master Artist, teacher of many Guizhou artists, had his 80th birthday. His students gathered to honor him and thank him.  A special commemorative book of his art production was created by his students for the the Master and the other  participants. Deng Chuanqi was born in Guizhou and mastered the Chinese seal block art, as well as the ancient calligraphy. He was a middle school teacher and inspired many Guizhou artists to excel in all kinds of art. Many of the famous Guizhou artists owe their teacher a debt that cannot be repaid. He did more

than inspire students. After retirement he continued to inspire the Guizhou art community in many ways.

Pictured right:

Birthday Party Announcement November 11, 2016, Deng Chuanqi is 80 years old. The party took place at Guizhou Hotel on Beijing Road.

A fine time was had by all.