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 form of decorative art that appeared during the Han Dynasty in 4th century A.D. after the Chinese official, Cai Lun invented paper in 105 A.D. 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 (N.U.S.) consisting of lecturers from the relevant faculties in Arts, Education and Business and Entrepreneurship.
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.
N.U.S. 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 magnitude because it serves as a way of learning and exchanging ideas with people we meet within the creative industries,” Senior Lecturer in Visual Arts, Leua Latai told the gathering during the opening ceremony this week.
“This is 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.”
“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 create meaningful 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.