'Traditions of China' photo exhibit at Civic Center
Chinese photographer Yong Xiao's exciting picture of performing fire-spitters is among the works i ... (more)
Visitors to the Nov. 5 opening of the 'Traditions of China' exhibition at the Dennis A. Wicker Civ ... (more)
Visitors check out the photographs in the 'Traditions of China' exhibition showing at the Dennis A ... (more)
Ling Huang, Confucius Classroom instructor for Central Carolina Community College, sings 'Chuange' ... (more)
Central Carolina Community College Confucius Classroom instructor Ling Huang speaks to visitors Ma ... (more)
SANFORD - Chinese photographer Yong Xiao vividly depicts Chinese traditional life not usually seen by tourists in "Traditions of China," an exhibition of his pictures at the Dennis A. Wicker Civic Center.
The show is a free cultural presentation of Central Carolina Community College's Confucius Classroom. It is open to the public during business hours through Nov. 26 at the Civic Center, 1801 Nash St.
The 48 photographs capture the colorful, varied, and dynamic essence of traditional China in five categories: Buildings, Entertainment, Daily Life, Handicrafts, and Fitness. Most of the photographs are mounted on cubes suspended from the ceiling to resemble Chinese lanterns.
Maggie McRae, of Lee County, was among those at the opening reception.
"When you go to a country, you generally see the tourist things," she said. "I'm glad that this offers something deeper."
Ling Huang, Confucius Classroom instructor since 2011, said that when she came to the United States she found that Americans knew about things like Chinese skyscrapers, the Great Wall, and the Forbidden City, but little about the rich traditions of her country.
"In an era of globalization, the traditional has much to offer," she said. "Traditions are struggling to live on in an era of globalization. I felt we needed an exhibition to show what we have to offer. This heritage is not only for China, but for the whole world."
Yong, deputy director of the Department of Photography of the Xinhua Daily, is a colleague of Huang's husband, Bingshan Chen, a journalist for the newspaper, one of the largest in China. Through her husband, Huang was able to arrange the show.
Over the years, Yong has seen globalization overtake Chinese cultural traditions, with many of them being marginalized or dying out. His photographs capture traditional life in modern China. In a video made by him and played at the reception, he explained that, as a professional photographer, his work is to record what is around him.
"Old traditions are dying out," he said. "It is my responsibility to record them for future generations and the world."
At the reception, Huang sang a traditional Chinese love song about a young woman floating on a river to meet her love. Huang noted that the song typified the Confucian principle of self-control, with no mention of love, but a feeling of quiet reserve.
"She really enjoyed singing - you could see it in her face," said Mary Foster, of Sanford. "I don't plan on going to China, but this exhibition is my way of visiting there."
Jon Matthews, CCCC Dean of University Transfer, Health Science, and Developmental Studies, said the purpose of the Confucius Classroom is to offer the culture, history and language of China to the local area. Two years of Chinese instruction is offered and other classes, such as Chinese cooking, are offered based on interest.
The college will soon launch its Elementary Chinese course online, making it the first North Carolina community college to have an online Chinese class.
The Confucius Classroom also offers occasional cultural events for the public, including the photography show.
"I hope that this is just the first of many exhibitions that the Confucius Classroom will put on for the public," Matthews said.
In 2009, through a partnership with N.C. State University's Confucius Institute, CCCC became the first community college in the nation to have a Confucius Classroom. Instructor Ling Huang, from Nanjing Normal University, will be at CCCC for two years, teaching Mandarin Chinese and the nation's culture and history.
Dr. Bud Marchant, CCCC President, said that by having the Confucius Classroom the college is preparing students and others for the global marketplace. Chinese is second only to English as an international language of business and the People's Republic of China is North Carolina's second-largest trading partner.
For more information about Central Carolina Community College's Confucius Classroom, visit www.cccc.edu/confucius.
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