Presenting one's culture and history through paper cutting and production of folk handicrafts is an art in itself that anyone would need all the available resources to produce it. You would most probably have to have an eye of producing the most authentic and innovative techniques to advance in such a creative industry.
Paper cutting is one of China's most popular forms of decorative art that appeared during the Han Dynasty in 4th century AD after the Chinese official, Cai Lun invented paper in 105 AD. Centuries later, it then spread to other parts of the world with countries and regions adopting their own cultural styles. Its origin derived from cutting patterns for rich Chinese embroideries and later developed into a folk art.
The production of these two forms of traditional art making have made China's ancient history more sustainable and have become one of the most successful exports for Shaanxi province alone. Considered to be famous in traditional folk handicraft production, especially in paper cutting and shadow puppet; the International Exchange Centre in Yangling city, has reached out to developing countries in Africa, Caribbean and the Pacific through a four week training course on paper cutting and traditional folk handicraft production.
Samoa is represented by a seven member delegation from the National University of Samoa (NUS) consisting of lecturers from the relevant faculties in Arts, Education, Business and Entrepreneurship.
Caption: NUS Team in China (l-r): Muliagatele Dr Rasela Tufue-Dolgoy (Senior Lecturer, Education Department),Laeimau Peru Tugaga (Teacher Education Lecturer), Faamausili Paletuatoa Toelupe
(Lecturer, Department of Management, Tourism and Hospitality),Matatumua Maluiao Leua Latai (Senior Lecturer, Department of Teacher Education),
Rosaiviti Solomona (Music Technical Assistant) and Cherimoniva Wright (Lecturer, Department of Teacher Education).
Currently underway in Yangling city, a Demonstration Zone just outside of Xi'an, the capital city of Shaanxi Province, the International Exchange Centre (I.E.C) is coordinating this training designed for participants to exchange and discuss the national folk arts in their own countries or the acquired folk arts based on their learning and visits across Yangling city and Shaanxi province.
Furthermore, participants will be able to enhance their friendly exchange with other developing countries and ultimately to apply their acquired practical techniques and skills in folk arts to promote the industry advancement in this field of their respective countries.
NUS participation at this training will hopefully introduce new ideas into using available resources that would require minimal spending from its stretched budget to implement project based assessments and activities in classrooms.
"I heartily wish to thank the Government and the good people of China for organizing such a training program.For us we welcome initiatives of this magnitudebecause it serves as a way of learning and exchanging ideas with people we meet within the creative industries," Senior Lecturer in Visual Arts, Ms Leua Latai told the gathering during the opening ceremony this week. "Thisis very timely and appropriate due to its relevance at this point of our various national developments."
Ms Latai, who has worked in the university showcasing students' artwork for close to 10 years, is optimistic that this training will come up with ways and low resourced means of recycling waste particularly paper, to assist attending participants from six developing countries. The training course will also present the participants with Chinese culture, history and making of paper cutting, history and production of clay sculpture, fabric embroidery, gongs and drums making, folk-arts of Central Shaanxi, women entrepreneurship and its significance. "It will go a long way to create employment opportunities, awareness in environmental protection which will help in waste management thereby ensuring hygiene and sanitation as well as encourage women entrepreneurs," Ms Latai added.
"Furthermore, due to cultural diversity, this training will incorporate Chinese culture into African, Caribbean and Pacific culture thereby encouraging cultural diversity. We believe our time here in China will offer us the opportunity to gain from the Chinese experience and expertise in developing our various capacities that will enable us to createmeaningful impact in our developing countries."
For a better command of paper-cutting and folk handicrafts making technique, the participants will visit Qianyang Xinxing Handicrafts Cooperatives, Fengxiang Clay Sculpture Workshop, Xunyi Ku Shulan Paper Cutting Gallery, Wugong Xinxiu Embroidery Cooperatives, Liquan Yuanjiacun Village, Shaanxi Provincial Art Museum, Women's Culture Museum of Shaanxi Normal University and a visit to more sites in Beijing.
Serving the international issues relevant to Yangling, the only state-level agriculture hi-tech industries demonstration zone in China, Yangling I.E.C, founded in 1997, is an institute under the jurisdiction of the local government specialised in managing international agriculture exchanges and training programs.
The Centre boasts of a dynamic staff community talented with team spirit and foreign languages command, and a consultant panel with the honorable involvement of authoritative experts and professors in relevant orientations of agriculture; combining of the two attained fruitful experiences in multilateral and bilateral international cooperation programs implementation and foreign-aid technique services. In recent years, supported by the enriched education and research provisions and talents superiorities from the two universities, 15 key provincial and ministerial laboratories, 18 national, provincial and ministerial research centres and engineering centers locally located, Yangling I.E.C has energetically assumed the duty of national foreign-aid workshops in dry-land farming, water-saving irrigation, soil and water conservation and environment control, variety breeding, agricultural management and technology extension.
About 1200 ministerial principals, agri-technicians, and research and teaching specialists from 100 countries have presented in more than 57 sessions of the hosted foreign-aid training workshops.
It was in August 2011 when the China AID Dry-land Farming Technology Training Centre was officially launched in Yangling Demonstration Zone authorised by the Ministry of Commerce, P.R.C.
Caption: Some members of the NUS delegation in Yangling City, Shaanxi - CHINA