Canada, and Qingdao in Shandong Province, China, have maintained continuous interaction. Even during the pandemic, economic and cultural cooperation between the two cities never ceased. With the easing of restrictions in 2023, the interaction between the two cities has become more active. To celebrate the 15th anniversary of their sisterhood, starting from August 2023, a cultural exchange event is held every month, showcasing the charm of the sister cities from different perspectives and themes.
On October 22, 2023, the event “A Hundred Paintings Speak Volumes” was successfully held at the Richmond Performance Hall. It is as part of the 15th-anniversary celebration between the sister cities of Richmond and Qingdao, ral Heritage Exhibition” took place at the Richmond Performance Hall.
Firstly, one of the event initiators, Aaron Han, the Executive President of the Shandong Business Association, introduced the event. He said, “We often describe life as beautiful as a painting. Paintings are records, paintings are history, paintings can depict beauty, and paintings can revive memories. The famous Tang Dynasty poet Wang Wei had a well-known poem that best captures the essence of art: ‘From afar, the mountains have colors; up close, the waters are soundless. Spring departs, yet the flowers remain; people arrive, yet the birds are untroubled.’ Today, we are here to share ‘Qingdao’s Intangible Cultural Heritage’ and the ‘Paintings on Stone’ in Richmond. We aim to showcase the excellent cultures of both regions as part of the 15th-anniversary celebration of the friendly cities Qingdao in Shandong and Richmond in British Columbia.
Zheng Yan, the President of the Shandong Business Association, stated in her address, “Qingdao and Richmond, as friendly cities, have significantly contributed to the growth of trade and cultural exchange between the two cities, deepening the profound friendship between their people. We also hope that Sino-Canadian relations will continue to improve, leading to even greater and broader cooperation between the two nations.”
Henry Yao, a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) representing the Richmond constituency, attended the event and delivered a speech, “I am the MLA for the Richmond constituency, and I am delighted to participate in the 15th-anniversary celebration of the friendly relationship between Richmond and Qingdao. The Chinese community in Richmond is a significant ethnic group that has made many contributions to the economy, trade, and culture of Richmond and has actively participated in local elections. I hope that the interaction between the two friendly cities will continue to grow stronger.”
Mayor Malcolm Brodie of Richmond sent a congratulatory message for the event and expressed:”I would like to extend sincere greetings, and welcome everyone to the Special Art Exhibition, being held on Sunday, October 22, 2023，at the Richmond Performance Hall.
Organized by the Canada Shandong Chinese Business Association and the Canada Youth Union Foundation, todays Special Art Exhibition is sure to be an exciting and memorable event. As Mayor of the City of Richmond, take pride in the remarkable multicultural community within our City, and believe that it creates mutual respect and generates understanding of the different values and traditions that make up a diverse cultural heritage.
Former Richmond City Council candidate, Yonghong Zhang, who has been actively involved in the celebration of the sister city relationship, provided insights into the initiation of the sister city relationship and the interactions between the two cities over the years. In her address, she expressed her genuine happiness at witnessing the increasing presence of the Multiculturalism and the growing friendly exchanges between the two cities.
The “Qingdao Intangible Cultural Heritage” was presented in the form of images and paintings on the screen, primarily showcasing the classic culture and local customs from districts like Laoshan in Qingdao. The audience in attendance responded with applause and praise, creating a significant impact in the local Richmond community.
The “Paintings Etched in Stone” featured artists depicting some of Richmond’s classic architecture and representative cultural symbols. These paintings not only vividly portrayed these elements but also conveyed the history of Richmond’s development.
Dr. Kunjayah, who was honored with the title of World Peace Ambassador, conveyed in his speech, “In today’s world, there is unrest in peace and conflicts within civilizations. However, these artworks presented to us today provide a serene perspective on the colorful aspects of life. We hope for true peace in the world, where everyone can live in harmony. Let us cherish our present lives and celebrate the outstanding cultures of all nations.”
Mr. JAY, representing the World Youth Leaders Foundation, delivered his address, stating, “The series of artworks we just witnessed authentically depict the local culture and unique characteristics of Qingdao, enhancing our impression of the city. Of course, we also observed ‘Carved on Stone’ in Richmond, which is beneficial for reflecting on history. It’s evident that the Chinese community has played a significant role in Richmond’s development. Here’s to more diverse exchanges in the friendship between the two cities.”
Painter An Dong presented his specially prepared artwork for this event, depicting a comparison between the old and new governments of Qingdao and Richmond. His painting not only restores historical elements but also showcases the modern development of the two cities.
Painter Bi Gong and Chen Lijing created artworks on the spot. Bi Gong, who is also a calligrapher, wrote “May Shandong and Richmond Prosper in this Era” to extend their blessings for the 15th-anniversary celebration between the two friendly cities.
Painter Zheng Haiming, after introducing his artwork “Richmond Carved in Stone,” also conveyed his best wishes for the two friendly cities.
The event was hosted by Sissi in both Chinese and English.
At the event, performances were presented by Zhu Honglei, Xie Guirong, Li, and others, featuring captivating artistic programs. These included songs like “Red River Valley,” classical dance from Peking Opera “A Dream in a Spring Boudoir,” songs like “Strumming the Butterfly,” and “The Song of the Eagle.” Young talent Liang Haoxiang delivered a heartfelt recitation of the new version of “War and Peace.” Finally, everyone joined in singing “Friendship Forever.”
The event was organized by the Canada Shandong Chinese Business Association, the Canada Youth Union Foundation, and it was hosted by the Canada Performance and Recitation Arts Society. It was co-sponsored by the Canadian Rock Paintings Association and in collaboration with the Vancouver Red Leaf Art Troupe, with support from the Canadian Youth Union Foundation.
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