In its efforts to bridge business between the Philippines and China, Bank of China Manila, in partnership with the Metropolitan Museum of Manila, the Chinese Culture and Art Association, and the China Daily Asia Pacific, is spearheading a cultural exchange program and art exhibit.
Emphasizing that real communication starts from cultural exchange, Bank of China country head Deng Jun said, “The cultural exchange program is our way of nurturing the trust between the Philippines and China. We hope that through this endeavor, our two countries will realize that they have so much in common despite their apparent differences.”
This year’s program is a two-way exchange, during which artists from two countries get a chance to experience each other’s cultures.
The residencies are held in places that evoke the beauty and delicate nature of the environment.
During the Philippine phase, the artists—renowned Filipino painters Manuel Baldemor, Rico Lascano, Phyllis Zaballero, Norberto Carating, and Jonahmar Salvosa, and their Chinese counterparts Kuku Chai Bukuk, Cai Zhixin, Ding Jie, Hao Ping, and Liu She—spent time together in Palawan amidst the lush tropical forests and scenic ocean views.
It was the first time for the Chinese artists to see Palawan, who were in awe of the natural wonders of the province, even describing it as “Impressive,” “Inspiring,” and “Beautiful.”
For the second leg, the 10 artists will travel to Liling in China’s Hunan Province, where they will experience the region’s unique features—including towering mountains and flowing waterscapes—among autumn foliage.
Under the program, the bank has initiated an international art exhibition with an environmental theme inspired by the shared concern of both countries for the protection and preservation of nature.
The ongoing art exhibit at the MET, entitled “In Harmony with Nature,” aims to promote environmental stewardship and green living. The second phase will be at the Art Wharf Gallery in Shenzhen, China on Oct. 26.
Several artists expressed their excitement for the next phase of the program in Hunan. Norberto Carating, who has been to China for a previous exchange in 1977, said he wants to see the big changes to the region since he was there last. Meanwhile, Kuku Chai Bukuk sees this as an opportunity to share Filipino art to Chinese audiences.
At the heart of the cultural exchange program is the Bank of China’s goal to unveil the subtle similarities shared by two neighboring, but culturally different, countries.
“Art has no borders,” said both Manuel Baldemor and Phyllis Zaballero. And while the artists have different styles and different languages, they were able to showcase a shared sensibility and a kinship for art and what it stands for.
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