First “Italy-China Culture and Art Festival” held in Milan

[Source]    Confucius Institute at the University of Milan [Time]    2017-05-17 13:47:19 

From May 5th to 7th local time, sponsored by Milan Municipal Government of Italy and Hand-in-hand Italy-China Cultural Exchange Association, and hosted by institutions including the Confucius Institute at the University of Milan, the first “Italy-China Culture and Art Festival” was successfully held in Milan. About 1000 people including Anna Scavuzzo, Deputy Mayor of Milan, Huang Yongyue, Deputy Consul General of the Chinese Consulate General in Milan and community representatives, attended the opening ceremony.

Huang Yongyue(left, Deputy Consul General in Milan and Anna Scavuzzo (right), Deputy Mayor of Milan delivering speeches respectively

Anna Scavuzzo noted that the festival was expected to expose Italian citizens to experiencing Chinese culture closely and stimulate their interests and enthusiasm towards it. Huang Yongyue expressed that the Silk Road has established a channel for cultural exchange between the two ancient civilizations. It was also noted that the festival would bring the China-Italy cultural exchange to the next level.

During the festival, the Confucius Institute at the University of Milan elaborately prepared activities which included, but were not limited to Chinese calligraphy, traditional Chinese painting, tea art, paper cutting, Guzheng and other Chinese cultural experience events. 12-year-old Lei Xiaoxuan is an "old examinee" of the HSK testing center at the institute, and also a loyal fan of the institute. Participating together in this event, she and her family not only learned how to use a brush pen to write their own Chinese names, but also had a go at Guzheng. She said that her four-year Chinese language learning experience has connected her with China and formed a special bond. She hoped that she could major in Chinese in high school and would come to China to experience Chinese culture personally in the future.

Confucius Institute Teacher teaching Italian children to play Guzheng

At the Chinese traditional painting booth, institute teachers painted on the spot, attracting a lot of visitors. A lady who had just finished her performance of Tai Chi showed a strong interest in the activity. Under the guidance of teachers, she completed her first Chinese painting work. At the Chinese calligraphy booth, Chinese teachers wrote the Chinese character for "blessing" and Chinese names with a brush and gave them as gifts to audience members, attracting a large number of Italians.

Friendships being formed between locals and Chinese teachers

Passersby were drawn by the aromatic tea in front of the tea art booth. “It is rare for us to get in touch with this particular Chinese art. After watching the performance and tasting segment of Oolong tea, we are really interested in it,” expressed an old couple.

An Italian couple tasting the Chinese tea with great interest

In addition, on the afternoon of May 6th, 2017, the institute organized and participated in the “China-Italy Go Contest”. Fourteen Chinese and Italian contestants were divided into seven groups to compete in the matches. Jin Zhigang, Chinese Director of the Confucius Institute at the University of Milan, attended the contest and became the only winner among Chinese players.

Jin Zhigang, Chinese Director of Confucius Institute at the University of Milan, playing chess with an Italian chess player.

In an interview, Jin Zhigang noted that: “As the intersection of the end of the Ancient Silk Road and Maritime Silk Road, Italy plays a crucial role in the “Belt and Road” initiative. ‘People-to-people bond’ serves as a social foundation of the “Belt and Road” construction. The Cultural Art Festival demonstrates the essence of Chinese culture to the locals, providing a significant reference for promotion of people-to-people bond of the two countries and demonstration of China’s cultural soft power.

Story by Li Bowen and Xue Wanqiao; Photos by Li Bowen