Project connect

Updated: 2014-11-04 07:55

By Deng Zhangyu(China Daily)

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Dawood's story focuses on two Chinese-looking aliens who arrive in Preston, a city full of aliens, but where many residents have forgotten their alien identities.

"I use the sci-fi film to talk about the phenomenon of immigration. That's often the case in my works, using fantasy as a vehicle to talk about what's really happening," Dawood tells China Daily.

Born to a Pakistani mother and an Indian father and growing up in London, Dawood has always been interested in different cultures. In all the past years, he has tried to connect Western and Eastern cultures through his works, he says.

Before his weekend show in Xi'an, Dawood had never visited the city, but his curiosity about Xi'an, especially about China's first female empress Wu Zetian, who ruled the country during the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907), has only grown since.

Similar to his earlier film works on places such as Morocco, Hawaii and Mexico, the artist plans to make a film on Xi'an in the future, he says. "It's a fascinating city, bridging the past and present. On one hand, it has the Terracotta Warriors, and on the other, it leads the IT industry (in China)," he adds.

Dawood's solo show is the anniversary show of the OCAT exhibition hall in Xi'an. It opened last year, with a show of calligraphy and ink featuring Chinese artists like Xu Bing and Wang Dongling. This year, it held a group show of oil paintings by younger Chinese artists.

Contemporary artist Dawood's show seems to have set the tone for the facility's future shows. In fact, it is OCAT's mission to promote contemporary art in Xi'an, where much of the art scene so far has centered around culture relics, with traditional Chinese paintings and calligraphy as the dominant forces.

"Xi'an has lots of great traditional museums. But it's short of space to show contemporary art, we just offer a place for it," says Smith. She is one of few foreign nonprofit curators in China.

Once the capital city of the Han Dynasty (206-220 BC) and the Tang Dynasty, Xi'an has gained worldwide reputation for its antiques markets and the housing of heritage.

Smith says that Dawood's show is like a transitional exhibition to pave the way for more avant-garde art in Xi'an. The British artist has presented traditional textile materials in contemporary ways, and his sci-fi film talks to the Chinese. "People need time to accept avant-garde art. There must be someone to offer them," adds Smith.

Dawood's show will run through Feb 26.


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