The Young Friends of the Hong Kong Arts Festival Organises its first-ever Arts and Cultural Exchange Tour
(Hong Kong, 15 January 2018) The Young Friends of the Hong Kong Arts Festival (HKAF) organised its first arts and cultural exchange tour featuring 25 students from 13 secondary schools between 27 and 31 December 2017. Over the 5-day tour to Shaanxi Province, Mainland China, the participating students were deeply impressed by the ancient city’s cultural heritage as well as its economic and social development.
With the Support of the Ministry of Culture of the People’s Republic of China 25 Students from 13 Secondary Schools in Hong Kong
Participate in an Arts and Cultural Exchange to Shaanxi Province under the “One Belt One Road” initiatives
HKAF Executive Director, Ms Tisa Ho, said: “This is the first time that the Young Friends of HKAF has organised such an exchange tour. We are delighted to have received support from the Ministry of Culture of the People’s Republic of China, coupled with our own financial contribution.
In addition to learning about the rich culture and heritage of mainland China and building friendship with their counterparts and hosts, the shared experience has resulted in strong bonds amongst the participants. We hope this grows into lifelong friendship and a supportive network in the years to come. On a related note, HKAF’s productions at the forthcoming 2018 Festival include The Great Learning and Doctrine of Happiness, which also centre around the journey of a group of young people entering adulthood.”
Liu Xuan, Spokeswoman from the Ministry, said, “We hope these students will have learnt more about traditional Chinese culture through a variety of carefully curated activities. The aim of the exchange tour has been to deepen their understanding of the development and creativity of arts and culture and the preservation of cultural heritage. Since Xi’an is the starting point of the ancient Silk Road, which is a new focus of reform under the One Belt One Road initiatives (OBOR), this cultural exchange tour has invited students to explore the strengths and opportunities of Hong Kong through the development strategies of OBOR.”
Enthusiastic Student Participation
HKAF Senior Outreach Manager, Mr Kenneth Lee, said: “We began planning this tour at the end of 2016. Local secondary schools responded positively by recommending outstanding Young Friends student members with a passion for the arts. On this tour, not only did these students explore the historic and cultural importance of Xi’an, they were also introduced to this fascinating ancient capital of the “Thirteen Dynasties”. In addition, they participated in a fruitful dialogue with the teachers and students of the Xi’an University of Architecture and Technology. Finally, they have built up strong friendships amongst themselves as Young Friends members. I’m sure that this tour, for them, has been a once in a lifetime experience. We have planned for a reunion discussion session for the students at the end of January. Members of the media are welcome to join.”
A Fruitful Exploration Tour
The Shaanxi Provincial Culture Department arranged tailor-made interactive activities for this tour:
A welcome party for participating students featuring a visit to the Xi'an Big Goose Pagoda and the Music Fountain Plaza. Professor Xu Wei-min of the Northwest University (Xi’an) gave a brief introduction to Xi’an history.
A visit to the Terracotta Army, Xi’an Small Goose Pagoda and the Museum of Xi’an; attendance at the Silk Road Music Awards Ceremony, part of the Shaanxi Contemporary Arts Festival.
A visit to Fuping Ceramic Art Village, where the students made pottery, Hui Min Street (also known as the Muslim Street of Xi’an), the Drum Tower and the Bell Tower. They also visited the Shaanxi Traditional Opera Research Institute and enjoyed a Chinese aria concert in the Qin singing style.
Attendance at two talks about music and dance in the Huaqing College of the Xi’an University of Architecture and Technology. Visit to the Old Steel Factory. Dance teacher Li Ying and dance students from the College taught the Hong Kong students a Shaanxi folk dance. Dance students from the College and students from Hong Kong performed a short folk dance at the end of their visit.
A visit to the Museum of History in Xi’an.
|St Paul’s Secondary School||Jockey Club Government Secondary School|
|TWGHS Li Ka Shing College||Pui Shing Catholic Secondary School|
|SKH Bishop Mok Sau Tseng Secondary School||MA Kam Ming Charitable Foundation MA Chan Duen Hey Memorial College|
|The Church of Christ in China Yenching College||Sacred Heart Canossian College|
|Sha Tin Government Secondary School||Creative Secondary School|
|Hong Kong Baptist University Affiliated School Wong Kam Fai Secondary and Primary School||St Stephen’s College|
Two of the participants reflecting on the tour:
1. Christy Ying from St Stephen’s College
All of the architecture, scenery and arts in Shaanxi reflect the uniqueness and essence of Chinese culture. Hong Kong plays an important role as a bridge in the OBOR initiatives, while on this tour, I have been able to see the multi-dimensional aspects of the arts. Without any borders or boundaries, we can all come together and learn from each other, and the most important thing for us is to endeavour to become arts practitioners and cultural ambassadors.”
2. Chelsea Liu Nga Yin from TWGHS Li Ka Shing College
“On this tour, we visited many important landmarks but most importantly we had the chance to make pottery and eaves tiles. We were so excited to experience such traditional Chinese craftsmanship, which can’t be experienced in Hong Kong. When I was standing at the first pit of the Terracotta Army, I thought of the relationship between the arts and history. The works and antiques we see in museums reflect the thinking of the makers of the eras they were living in. Therefore, the arts can not only be seen on stage or in galleries but wherever there are people. Besides, cultural heritage can be found in Xi’an, as we have seen old craftsmanship is still there. We also found a mix of local and overseas cultures in Xi’an which has been developed into something unique. As I’m a young arts lover, I will think of how the contemporary arts can sit alongside traditional Chinese culture and hence how to help develop a local unique culture in Hong Kong.”
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HKAF invests heavily in arts education for young people. Over the past 26 years, our “Young Friends” scheme has reached over 730,000 local secondary and tertiary school students. A variety of arts education projects serving primary, secondary, and tertiary school students have been launched in recent years, featuring activities such as student showcases, pre-performance talks, open rehearsals, opportunities to attend Festival performances, as well as in-school workshops and lecture demonstrations led by international and local artists. For details: www.yfs.artsfestival.org
About the Hong Kong Arts Festival
Launched in 1973, the Hong Kong Arts Festival is a major international arts festival committed to enriching the cultural life of the city. In February and March every year, the Festival presents 1,400 of the world’s top artists and stars of tomorrow in approximately 120 performances, placing equal importance on great traditions and contemporary creations. The Festival also commissions and produces work in theatre, music, chamber opera and contemporary dance by Hong Kong’s own creative talents and emerging artists, many of which have had successful subsequent runs both locally and overseas. The Festival also presents over 300 “PLUS” and educational activities that offer diverse arts experiences to the community as well as tertiary, secondary and primary school students. For more information about the 2018 HKAF, please visit: www.hk.artsfestival.org.