Deborah Wilson, a seasoned jade artist and resident of Vernon, came home recently from Suzhou, China with a gold medal.
The annual exhibition, also a competition, is called Zi Gang Bei, an international jade extravaganza, with a symposium for the participants. The many hundreds of Chinese artists came from Jiangsu and neighbouring provinces, and as far away as Beijing to show their work. The 25 western artists were from Canada, USA, France, New Zealand, England, Mexico and Costa Rica. The show is held at the Suzhou International Expo Centre on Jinji Lake.
“I was struck by the contemporary themes and more abstract forms coming into play in some of the Chinese entries, compared to those I’dseen in 2014 and 2015,” said Wilson.
A quote from Andrew Shaw’s book ” Jade Life” reads, “These outsiders ( western jade artists) have started to have a profound influence on the work of jade carvers in China. In the last two or three years, the jades designed by Chinese craftsmen have begun to show more originality and flair. Gone are the days when every jade at the exhibition would be a traditional design.”
“A humbling thought” said Wilson in response. ” These highly skilled artists practically have jade in their DNA.”
This was said to be the primary motivation for the sponsor (the Suzhou Arts and Crafts Society) in extending invitations to western artists, starting in 2012. Wilson said she sees this as an opportunity to show ones’ best work with her peers and those created by the Chinese Masters.
“It is such an honour and a privilege to be a part of this artistic and cultural exchange. Our host in Suzhou is Andrew Shaw, a fellow carver and author. He has made all of this possible by acting as a liaison between east and west. This would not have happened without his involvement,” she said.
“The date has been set for the next Zi Gang Bei Exhibition in 2020, and now it’s back to the glorious grind.”
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