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Feature: Athens museum builds bridges through Chinese painting workshop

2018-03-26 Source:Xinhua

Participants practise Chinese landscape painting during a workshop at Herakleidon Museum in central Athens,Greece, March 24, 2018. Armed with Chinese brushes, ink and rice paper, a group of Greek women of various ages and professions sharing the love for art and eagerness to learn more about Chinese culture joined a workshop on Chinese landscape painting hosted at an Athens museum this March. (Xinhua/Marios Lolos)

by Maria Spiliopoulou

ATHENS, March 25 (Xinhua) -- Armed with Chinese brushes, ink and rice paper, a group of Greek women of various ages and professions sharing the love for art and eagerness to learn more about Chinese culture joined a workshop on Chinese landscape painting hosted at an Athens museum this March.

Loukia Konstantinou, a Greek artist who has studied Chinese language and culture for several years, took the 15 participants on a journey during three courses held at Herakleidon museum opposite the Athens Acropolis.

She provided an understanding of the materials, basic techniques and philosophy behind the painting of breathtaking scenery following the footsteps of great Chinese artists.

The main target of the art workshop was to open a window to Chinese culture and build bridges of communication with Chinese people, Konstantinou told Xinhua.

"Chinese landscape painting is closely linked to philosophy, the way of thinking and life style of Chinese people since antiquity," she said.

Studying thoroughly copies of works of Chinese artists Lu Yanshao (1909-1993) and Zhang Weiping (1955-) after learning the basic brushstrokes, by the end of the seminar participants gradually created their own works on the Chinese absorbent paper.

"Starting with traditional painters we searched how this form of art can be developed today through our perspective and our hands," Konstantinou said. In recent years the Greek artist has applied the techniques of Chinese traditional landscape painting in her works, when painting landscapes from Greece.

Konstantinou accepted the museum's proposal to organize this workshop to showcase that one has only to gain by getting acquainted with different cultures.

"Given our admiration for Chinese civilization and willingness to build bridges through art, there was no better opportunity than this; finding a museum which is open to the new and vivid interest by participants," she noted.

Herakleidon Museum is a privately-funded and non-profit organization, which has been bringing art, education, and culture to the Greek public since 2004.

In recent months it has organized a long series of similar workshops aimed to introduce adults and minors to various forms of Chinese art.

Following the success of the Chinese painting workshop which has aroused the strong interest of many Greeks, a new round of lessons will be held this May, according to the museum. Many of the participants in the first workshop intended to return to class.

Linguist Patty Papanikolaou had not grabbed a brush since high school, but always admired Chinese art and after the seminar she is eager to learn more about Chinese painting, she told Xinhua.

"I really wanted to get a hand on experience on what it is like and the brush strokes and all that, because it all seems so philosophical, so minimal and different... I relay enjoyed it. I feel like I came closer to understanding more about it," she said.

Biochemist Polyxeni Samanidou is also fascinated with Chinese art and has been painting porcelain for years. She followed the Chinese landscape workshop with great enthusiasm.

"I find this form of art charming. It is so relaxing. I do not know how to put it in words," she told Xinhua.

Author Mary Metaxa Paxinou, who has translated two books on Chinese astrology and Lao Tzu in Greek, was also one of the participants.

"I have always been admiring Chinese culture... travelled a lot and I came in touch with the culture. The culture is the philosophy as well, it is the way of being and the way we share our thoughts," she said.

Participants practise Chinese landscape painting during a workshop at Herakleidon Museum in central Athens,Greece, March 24, 2018. Armed with Chinese brushes, ink and rice paper, a group of Greek women of various ages and professions sharing the love for art and eagerness to learn more about Chinese culture joined a workshop on Chinese landscape painting hosted at an Athens museum this March. (Xinhua/Marios Lolos)

Participants practise Chinese landscape painting during a workshop at Herakleidon Museum in central Athens,Greece, March 24, 2018. Armed with Chinese brushes, ink and rice paper, a group of Greek women of various ages and professions sharing the love for art and eagerness to learn more about Chinese culture joined a workshop on Chinese landscape painting hosted at an Athens museum this March. (Xinhua/Marios Lolos)

Participants practise Chinese landscape painting during a workshop at Herakleidon Museum in central Athens,Greece, March 24, 2018. Armed with Chinese brushes, ink and rice paper, a group of Greek women of various ages and professions sharing the love for art and eagerness to learn more about Chinese culture joined a workshop on Chinese landscape painting hosted at an Athens museum this March. (Xinhua/Marios Lolos)

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