The Arts Centre, with support from the Asia New Zealand Foundation, hosted paper cut artist, Jie Qiong Liu from China’s north-west Shaanxi Province, this February. During her residency, Ms Liu gave classes in Christchurch schools and at the Arts Centre.
The Chinese folk art of paper cutting involves using scissors or knives to cut out intricate patterns from paper. A traditional form of artistic expression in rural communities, particularly for women, it has been important for recording ancient myths and storytelling. For over a thousand years, rural Chinese have used paper cuts to decorate their homes and bring them good luck.
Liu was taught the art of paper cutting by her mother, highly regarded paper cut artist Gao Fengilan. In 1995, Gao was awarded the title of Master of Folk Art and Craft by UNESCO. Her work has been described as “rich in artistic value and aesthetic sensibility”. Not only has she passed down her skills to her daughter, Liu, but Gao’s work is also held by museums and art galleries as China’s push to preserve its intangible cultural heritage gains momentum.
Coinciding with Chinese New Year, Liu’s Arts Centre paper-cut workshops featured designs incorporating bats, birds and flowers, symbols that are frequently seen in New Year paper cuts as they symbolize health, luck, wealth and success. Each participant made their own Chinese paper cut to display in their homes and bring them their own portion of good luck for 2010.
This residency has been made possible by the Asia New Zealand Foundation.