Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Water Buffalo Dance or "What's for Dinner?"

The Miao people (Hmong in their dialect) are one of the largest ethnic minorities in Southwest China. Most Miao villages are just of a few families. They are nestled on hillsides among mountains and rivers.  The weather is mild with a generous rainfall, and the area is rich in natural resources which made it easy for these villages to prosper independently for centuries.

We visited the Xijiang Miao Village which is the largest Miao Village with only 1,000 homes.   The Miao people have a rich tradition of singing and dancing at their festivals and a reputation for extending a warm welcome to visitors.
We had a nice dinner followed by a folk dance performance.  The hats are made of a shiny foil that does not weigh down the dancers.  They are embossed with symbolism and topped with the shape of water buffalo horns.  The costume is adorned with elaborate hand embroidery.

If you pound dough long enough with large wooden hammers it will actually cook into a chewy bread.

I was selected from the audience to be part of the entertainment. Silly questions and rice wine.  I was a little nervous.  I didn't really understand the question.  It was in Chinese.  I think they asked what I had for dinner.  But maybe not because I was picked up and carried away!

The lavish costumes and the joy expressed by these young women made them an easy choice for a painting.

 Detail “Dancing Miao”

By Vicky Gooch
18” X 24” Oil on Linen

From Guiyang to Kaili with Miao Villages

View Guiyang, Guizhou in a larger map

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Man of Good Fortune - by Mary Frankel

In ancient times the Baiyue ethnic group, the ancestor of today’s Dai ethnic minority, lived alongside with elephants in the south of Yunnan Province. Dai people and wild elephants dwelling in Yunnan’s tropical forests continue to get along very well with each other. 

Since the Dai Minority people regard elephants as the symbol of the mighty and the strong, the chaste and the steady, they treat elephants as the key topic in all forms of art and literature, and they pin their pursuit for "the true, the kind and the beautiful" on elephants. 

In Chinese, the phrase ‘elephant rider’ sounds similar to ‘auspicious’ or ‘fortunate’.  My latest painting is of this magnificent, but sadly, vanishing animal and her fortunate riders in Xishuangbanna, China.

"Elephant Rider"

By Mary Frankel
16" X 12" Oil on Linen

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Happy New Year of the Horse!

What a blessing to be invited to speak about our China Minorities-American Perceptions Art Exhibition at the US-China Peoples Friendship Association 2014 Chinese New Year Celebration Dinner.  This is a non-profit, non-political organization whose purpose is friendship between individuals of each country.  

This is Consul Wang, the Consul for Cultural Affairs at the Chinese Consulate in Houston with Qiang Zeng the President of the local chapter of the US-China Peoples Friendship Association.

 Consul Wang is explaining that he lived in the area of the Short Skirt Miao people who are represented by the young lady in my painting “Tea For You”.  It was quite an honor for me to have him point out the various parts of the costume that he remembered from living there.  “Is she a real person?” I was asked.  Absolutely.  When she was finished serving, she could be found outside on her cell phone! 
Alice Shen and Fidelis Ngang are board members of the USCPFA in Houston. 

With board member, Cresali LaWell, I am wearing a top covered in sequins and gold stitching that was purchased in the market place of Lijiang, China.  

You won’t see me with a microphone very often!  I'm saying that we can’t help but bring our personal history with us when we look at the world.  This is why we wanted to have “American Perceptions” in the name of our show.  It’s the way we see things.  That’s the real beauty of art.  It comes through another person’s eyes and mind before it becomes a work of art.

I’d like to thank these two special men for being there in the audience.  My husband, Jerry has always been there for me.  He did a great job as photographer.  Willy Wang is my friend and art mentor.  He offers advice on drawing in his weekly drawing workshop and leads workshop members on travel tours.  I treasure his guidance.  
And a big xie xie (thank you!) to the very friendly folks in the US-China Peoples Friendship Association for inviting me to share our plans with them! 

Monday, February 17, 2014

The City of Bridges - by Mary Frankel

In the early morning sunshine, a farmer from the area brings his wares into the city market on eight hundred year old streets paved with slabs of fine-grained red breccia.  No cars are allowed – only bicycles.  The ebb and flow of the people in the old town of Lijiang has been going on since the thirteenth century.  In America, we go to ‘antique stores’ and look at things that are one hundred years old.  When people comment that ‘seeing the world’ will open up your eyes, open your horizons; this is what they are talking about.

"Morning Commute"

By Mary Frankel
12" X 16" Oil on Linen