Cultural Travel and the Cultural Revolution

For many cultural travelers, the richness of the experience is embedded in the story and history of a culture. Knowing the history of place helps one to feel a real connection and context for the people within a culture. We can often learn about story and history of a culture through architecture and art. Material objects, textiles, music, paintings, sculptures and photographs often reveal to us a sense of what happened within a marked period of time.  There is nowhere in the world where “cultural revolution” was so amplified as in China. Told through a visual lens of an artist, Tania Branigan of the Guadian UK writes a compelling article about artist, Xu Weixin’s large scale portraits of his teacher during China’s cultural revolution, along with many more compelling images.  Branigan in her interview with Weixin says:

No portrait is more important to Xu Weixin than his first. It was 1966; the artist was eight; and he had learned, to his shock, that his kindly young teacher was the daughter of a landlord – an enemy of the people. Outraged, he drew a hideous caricature and pinned it to the blackboard. When Miss Liu entered the classroom, “She turned pale but didn’t say a word,”

Cultural understanding is born out of a willingness to witness what happened in the past, and to bring that awareness into the present, no matter how difficult the past may be to acknowledge. it is important to read, and look to art to tell the story that is embedded in a culture’s history. I highly recommend that you go directly to this article in the Guardian, and read about China’s cultural revolution told through a pictorial  representation of the real people who were participants in the China’s cultural revolution.  This is one of the most interesting stories I have read in a long time. There is also a video with Weixin’s images. Do not miss reading about the cultural revolution in China. Branigan presents this story in brilliant form. The images will compel you to learn more.  Cultural travel may occur through the lens of images and art. Weixin’s images of faces during the cultural revolution merge story with the power of art. Go directly to this article now.

 

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