Nanjing's culture and creativity on display in London

Updated: 2016-09-23 17:22

By ANGUS McNEICE(China Daily UK)

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Nanjing's culture and creativity on display in London

Ceiling fan, an installation design at the Nanjing Pavilion. [Photo/China Daily]

An exhibition of Nanjing's cultural history and modern creativity opened in the British capital this week during the London Design Festival 2016.

Creations from some of the eastern Chinese city's foremost designers, performers and artists are on display as part of Nanjing Week in London, a program aimed at fostering cultural exchanges between the two cities.

Nanjing Week director Pan Gupin said at the opening ceremony at the British Library,"Each year, from last year until 2020, the Nanjing municipal government is promoting Nanjing in cities around the world. We went to Milan last year and this year we have chosen London."

At the opening, artist and publisher Zhu Yingchun donated a limited edition, thread­bound book containing thousands of pictograms painstakingly created over five years.

Drawing much of his inspiration from nature, Zhu used ants, spiders, worms and snails in his creative process, allowing them to chew patterns on parchment and track ink across his characters and illustrations. The book and a collection of Zhu's other work is on display at the library in central London until Saturday.

Hamish Todd, head of East Asian collections at the British Library, said, "This reciprocal exchange of knowledge and ideas is the basis of what we do.

"Zhu's works will have a place in the British Library's collection to inspire readers of today and for generations to come."

Nanjing also has its own pavilion at 100% Design, the commercial cornerstone of the London Design Festival at the Olympia Exhibition Centre in West London.

Until Saturday, the Nanjing Pavilion will offer as election of contemporary interior designs from the city, curated by Zhang Ming, vice­director of industrial design at Nanjing University of the Arts.

Nanjing Week will culminate in a cultural festival at Potters Field Park near Tower Bridge on the south bank of the River Thames. The Nanjing Cultural Weekend will give visitors a taste of Nanjing culture and design through music, performance and installations.

The centerpiece is Movilla, a multipurpose living space with water­and energy­saving features created by designers from Nanjing.

Movilla is a solar­powered, zero­emissions construction that is fully transportable. The public can learn about its sustainable features and potential applications from Friday to Sunday.

Next year, Nanjing Week will go to New York City. By 2020, the initiative will have promoted business and cultural exchanges in 10major cities worldwide.

Meanwhile, theatergoers can view a marriage of famed British and Chinese play­wrights' work at The Actor's Church in London's Covent Garden on Friday night.

Marking the 400th anniversary of the deaths of William Shakespeare and Tang Xianzu, Kunqu Opera performer Ke Jun and British director Leon Rubin have teamed up for A Shakespearean Handan Dream.

In the production, several of Shakespeare's characters, including King Lear and Macbeth, converse with Lu Sheng, the protagonist in The Handan Dream, one of Tang's four masterpieces. This results in an existential exploration of the cultures of Elizabethan England and Ming Dynasty China.