Dorothy Li ’18 was featured this January in New Hampton School’s Galletly Gallery. A 4-year student from Dalian Liaoning, China, Dorothy worked as an intern in the restoration department of the art museum in the Forbidden City this past summer, and asked if she could share some of her Chinese culture with her New Hampton School family. Dorothy chose the art works, purchased the reproductions, and arranged them in the gallery. The exhibit is accompanied by a reflection on her internship and a curatorial statement.
Curatorial Statement: “From the Forbidden City”
“Chinese culture appears to be well established in the US with Chinese restaurants everywhere. However, after staying in the States for four years, I realize that sometimes Chinese culture has been misunderstood in a strange manner. When I was asked by a friend about why Chinese eat insects, I realized that I wanted to make Chinese culture more accessible to my community.
This summer, I did an internship in Beijing at the Forbidden City, where I got to see ancient artwork and listened to experts talking about the concepts within Chinese painting. Being inspired by the experience there, I thought a visual exhibition would be a great way to give my school community a new understanding of China and life. After talking to the school head, gallery manager, and my art teacher, I got the chance to bring back copies of those works to have such an exhibition. Different from Western artists, Chinese artists use everyday objects, like pine trees meaning strength and oranges meaning good luck, to embody specific concepts or ideologies. After looking through tons of Chinese artworks, my art teacher and I chose the best fifteen pieces portraying animals and scenery to display in the school gallery. Through this exhibition I exposed my classmates to an art style that uses a completely different ink, art paper and way to mount, which they might not be familiar with. The exhibition influenced them to view the meanings of everyday objects in different perspectives and think about how those meanings can be related to their lives. Interestingly, after the exhibition I wasn’t the only student at my school, who would eat oranges for good luck before tests.”
In a report, reflecting on her internship experience, Dorothy writes “I expected to learn more about history from this internship. Yet what I found more rewarding was that I learnt the significance of preserving history and discovering the meaning of it. Master Wang was born in 1976 and his family experienced China cultural revolution. He understood the difficulty and preciousness of cultural restoration. These relics represent history, the past, and the hard work the ancients have put on. Now, I hope to share my appreciation of history with more people, and the pass the genuine value to our offspring.”
This student generated exhibit provided conversation for students about art, culture, and opportunity. Dorothy’s summer experience was a wonderful way to enhance her yearlong study and pursue authentic opportunities that might follow her high school career. Many thanks to Dorothy for sharing her work and passion with us.
Throughout the year Galletly Gallery features exhibits from local New Hampshire artists, faculty and students.