Beijing, 25 November 2014 – To commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls (EVAW Day), held every year on November 25th, the UN Theme Group on Gender (UNTGG) and the Chinese Museum of Women and Children have organized an art exhibition around the theme ‘To Have and To Lose’. The exhibition opening was well attended by guests from the UN system, diplomatic community, ACWF, members of the artistic community. The organisers worked with the Chinese art company 1728 Top Art to put on the exhibition. The event was made possible by support from the Finnish Embassy, the Australian Embassy, UN Women, Naweng Water Company, NetEase, and Australia China Art Foundation.
The exhibit uses art to address issues of women’s freedom and rights, and the harrowing effects of their loss – to raise awareness about the importance of protecting the rights of women to live free from domestic violence. The contemporary art exhibition will be on display from 25 November until 9 December 2014 at the Chinese Museum of Women and Children. The exhibition brings together 80 works of art by Chinese and international artists including, Hanna Varis, Chen Qingqing (陈庆庆), Zhaobang(赵邦), Wang Zhaomin (王昭旻), Libo (李博), Hejie (何杰), Song Ling (宋陵), Zongning (宗宁), Li Mingzhu (李明铸), Majun (马军), Aisong(艾松), The Utopia Group(乌托邦小组), He Jinwei (何晋渭), Huangmin (黄敏), Zhangwei (张巍).
The Australia China Art Foundation (ACAF) is proud to present Song Ling’s work “Violent Aesthetics” at this exhibition.
“On the face of the women, there is a Chinese character “Shan”, a symbol of kindness. However, we can also notice some blood, which refers to violence and unkindness. Kindness and violence are both aspects of conflict. To some extent, we are making choices between kindness and unkindness all the time. Women and children are the vulnerable group who should be given special care and love. However, many of them are suffering violence. As a male, although I have not suffered this kind of violence myself, I have witnessed a lot.
Family violence is a big issue in China. In my artwork, I want to reveal the fact of violence and express my opinions about violence. I have a dream that people could show respect and kindness to each other. I have a dream that the public could take the violence issue to heart and they will fight against family violence. Facing the choice between kindness and unkindness, I hope people could choose kindness and be kind to others. They can shoulder the responsibility of taking good care of family members and children.
“Violent Aesthetics” is not a way to promote violence. It is a way to reflect people’s miserable lives as a result of violence. Although art cannot eliminate violence directly, it an help bring it to people’s attention and make people think seriously about it.”
– Song Ling, Melbourne, Nov 2014
Song Ling forcefully reminds us in his art that women and children are vulnerable to family violence. That in many relationships violence lies just below the surface.
Children often suffer physical abuse in dysfunctional families but they also suffer emotional and psychological damage. It is a sad fact that children who encounter family violence have a greater chance of becoming perpetrators of family violence as adults.
At ACAF we have a project, Arts Can Do, which works with the children of migrant workers, one of the poorest and most disadvantaged sectors of our society. We introduce these children to the arts, to painting, sculpture, performance and music.
Life at the bottom of society, in the harsh world of the transient migrant worker, is tough and uncertain. Children here lack the opportunity to develop emotionally in the way that we see our own children develop in response to our love and care. They have few opportunities to explore creativity and relationships in the ways which we provide for our children. The result is children who develop into distressed adults, unable to build lives based on love and understanding rather than fear, aggression and violence.
Our aim is to use the transformative power of art to bring new insights and opportunities to these children. To help them break out of the cycle of poverty by opening their minds through creative expression. To enable them to relate to the world and each other in non aggressive ways. The power of art as therapy is unique in its effectiveness but it is especially powerful with children.
Arts Can Do operates regular programs in Shanghai for workers children and for the mentally handicapped. Volunteer local and international artists work with teachers and therapists to engage children in a wider ante of creative activities. The results have been remarkable.
We strongly believe that art can transform lives. It can give children an attitude to life which will will help them develop relationships in which violence has no part. It can break the cycle of violence that often enslaves the very victims of past abuse.