FLOW OF TRADITION: Chinese Folk Art in Lunar New Year

Yinghua Zhang, Calendar-Dragon Glows, woodblock print, 2023

February 1—18, 2024

Reception + curator talk: Thursday, February 8, 3-5PM
(sign up now!)

Daily life flows linearly, constantly moving forward, giving rise to the concept of “the past.” When we bid farewell to the past, it is often marked by various objects, rituals and festivals. The Spring Festival, a venerable celebration spanning over 4000 years, converges expressions of time, nature, society, family, and life. Within the ceremonial transition from the old to the new, select pieces of folk art, adorning the space as decorations, crystallize the hopes of individuals towards the future. 

This exhibition presents twenty-four sets of Chinese folk-art pieces, including paper-cutting, woodblock prints, folk toys, sculptures, and embroidery. Some of these works continue the ancient Chinese styles. Others represent innovative creations by contemporary artisans. Additionally, a portion of the exhibits reflects the modern expressions of traditional culture by young designers and artists, illustrating the transmission of Chinese traditional culture across different generations and capturing the dynamic interplay between the spirit of the times and cultural memories. 

The zodiac for the year 2024 is the Dragon. The dragon is the only symbol among the twelve zodiac animals that does not correspond to a specific real-world creature. It is a collection of various symbolic meanings, symbolizing the perpetual force of life. 

Cultural exchanges, like the ebb and flow of tides, blend to create new images in our minds. We fervently anticipate that this exhibition will kindle inspiration among the attendees and offer a collective glimpse into the new year. 

About the curators   

Dr. Lili Zhu and Dr. Tao Pang are visiting scholars from the Folklore Program. Their research interests lie in material culture, folk art and crafts, and intangible cultural heritage preservation. 

This exhibition has been collaboratively realized under the guidance of Professor Lijun Zhang (Associate Director of Folklore Program), with the generous support of Professor Lisa Gilman (Director of Folklore Program). 

Exhibition support provided by Stephanie Grimm (Art & Art History Librarian and Fenwick Gallery Manager) and Chen Bi (Fenwick Gallery Graduate Assistant & MFA student). Their professionalism and dedication have ensured the smooth progress of the exhibition. 

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