I recently announced my new WenLan 文兰 endeavour. Now, I’m planning to move to a small village near Dali. This week, therefore, was all about meeting as many people as possible. For my cultural exchange projects, I want to cultivate partnerships so I can do more with less budget. Find people who want to host events, host artists, or can help in other ways. This will be in exchange for an interesting international cultural program.
Over the last two years, I have built an impressive network in Yunnan and beyond, through my work as editor-in-chief of GoKunming. This week was all about connecting with these friends. I’ve been looking at interesting venues and thinking about how we can work together. The goal is to bring something worthwhile to Yunnan and the visiting artists.
Yesterday I had a wonderful meet-up with Gao Xiang. He is the director of the Yuan Xiao Cen Art Museum, coordinates the Lugu Lake artist in residency programme and is an accomplished artist who has exhibited internationally. His master student (and fellow long distance cyclist!) Hui Liu joined us.
The artist in residency has focused on the culture of the matriarchal Mosuo minority, until now that is. This year the program shifted towards biodiversity, because of the planned and subsequently cancelled UN biodiversity summit which was supposed to happen in Kunming in October.
The museum houses two permanent collections – Sculpture and ink works and historical colour photographs from the second world war, when the Flying Tigers were stationed in Yunnan.
I got a private tour of the museum, saw Gao Xiang’s studio, and afterwards we enjoyed a meal and pleasant conversation at a nearby restaurant. Let’s hope our meeting will bring about a fruitful collaboration.
In the meantime, I’m dealing with the red tape that comes with transferring a work permit. It’s looking good, but this is always a stressful process in China.
So, I’m more than ready for my countryside retreat. During my recent visit to Dali and Xizhou I met a couple who live in a beautiful house in a tiny village, 8km north of Dali. I will be looking after their cats for one month. I’m very much looking forward to enjoying more swims in the lake and hikes in the Cangshan Mountains, rising up right behind the village. And dreams of more projects, connections, artistic exchanges and crossovers between Yunnan and the rest of the world.