Art of Calligraphy Exhibition Closing Seminar

Sunday 15 September saw the end of Mr Tang Yu-Shiun's Art of Calligraphy Exhibition. The exhibition finished with an excellent seminar, where Mr Tang's wife Gladys gave an overview of the exhibition, and featured a variety of dance and musical performances.

The seminar was given almost completely in Chinese, which made for a great experience despite the language barrier (Gladys kindly used a PowerPoint presentation with both English and Chinese), and the artistic performances were absolutely sublime.

After the general introductions, Gladys went through the main features of the calligraphy exhibition. Then, we all shuffled the seats to the back part of the TSB Space to give the performers plenty of space.

We were treated first to a great performance from the Qiaolei Dance Group. I was so impressed with the dance; I haven't seen any traditional Chinese dances live before, and between the synchronised dance moves, the cartwheels, and the bell bracelets, it made for a great show!

Next was a Beijing Opera number, with Gu Xiwen on vocals and Wang Shiliang on the jinghu. This was another new one for me, and as a singer, listening to the Beijing Opera was quite eye-opening - the amount of control it takes to get that particular sound is astonishing, and makes for a great effect. The accompanying jinghu was such a pleasure to listen to as well.

The music continued with two more operatic numbers; the first soloist was Wang Wenhao, followed by Gao Zili. Wang Wenhao has such an amazing voice! It was a stunning piece, and one of my favourite songs of the evening.

The vocal performances were followed by a recitation of a poem that Gladys wrote, with the words presented on the screens with PowerPoint. Even though I couldn't understand the words, it just further cemented one of the big themes of the night, from my perspective: you don't have to understand something to know it's beautiful.

Last, but not least, a surprise to all of us as we saw a gigantic, ornate harp being wheeled in across the room! The harp and clarinet duo that followed was beautiful; especially because I think it may have been a song from one of my favourite anime films, Howl's Moving Castle.

The evening was finished off with a glorious afternoon tea (yum!). Mr Tang Yu-Shiun and Gladys set things off by cutting the cake together, to mark the end of their successful exhibition.
This was a fabulous and very special event which I enjoyed immensely. It was such a pleasure to learn more about Chinese calligraphy and art in general, all while celebrating the illustrious career of Mr Tang Yu-Shiun in an event which was very special to him and Gladys.

Please enjoy some of the (many) photos of the seminar.

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