The Confucius Institute at Brock Art Class is holding an exhibition featuring the work of Niagara youth to celebrate the upcoming Chinese New Year.
About 60 paintings, many of which depict scenes of nature, line two walls on the second floor of the International Centre.
“It’s quite important to us because it showcases Chinese language and culture, and it allows us to share some of the activities and programs that are taking place within the Confucius Institute and our local community,” said Sheila Young, Brock International director.
Chinese New Year is Jan. 31, and 2014 is the year of the horse. There have been exhibits in the past to celebrate the new year, including some from China, but this year’s display is smaller than previous editions, Young said.
The students behind the paintings are aged five to 16 and have been brushing up on their skills with Niagara artists Ping Li and Tao Yao for one or two years in the institute’s art class.
“(Li and Yao) were very much impressed by the skills as well as the imaginations of the kids,” said Cheng Luo, the institute’s co-director and associate professor of applied linguistics. “For a five year old, you even see the layers.”
Luo called Chinese painting indispensible and an important part of Chinese culture.
Many of the paintings reflect a oneness of human body and nature, he added.
“All this represents some philosophical ideas of Chinese culture as well as skills of Chinese culture,” Luo said.
The Confucius Institute offers a means for increasing understanding and appreciation of Chinese art and culture by providing venues and opportunities for cultural and artistic activities.
The exhibition is on until Wednesday, Feb. 5. Li and Yao are offering a free trial art class open to the public on Sunday, Feb. 2 from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the international centre where the Confucius Institute is located.