Wednesday, March 11, 2009
My apologies for not having pictures yet again. I brought my camera with me, but apparently I left the connecting cable at home in New York. Luckily, I brought a "back-up" camera, so I should have one or two pictures up by next week.
The week was pretty eventful, which makes it even more disappointing that I can't post any pictures up. We went on a field trip to multiple galleries near the French Concession, and the entire Shanghai study abroad group, including myself, went to Beijing over the weekend where we got to see Beijing's art community and one of its art schools.
All of the places we visited over the past week were pretty interesting, but I probably got the most out of the visit to the propaganda exhibition. I'm not really a big Mao fan, and my opinions on a lot of the pieces in the exhibition are pretty biased. But I found all of the exhibits to be pretty refreshing. Maybe it's because I don't visit too many art galleries in New York, but I never really get to see propaganda rooting for the other team.
Many of the posters were promoting communism, anti-American ideals, and the "liberation" of North Korea and other communist interests. It was the first time I had seen Americans being portrayed as the bad guys instead of a foreign country. Most of the times, it would be the Chinese or Japanese being depicted as little gremlins instead of American soldiers being belittled by the People's Army in China.
The poster that really jumped out at me was the one regarding the "liberation" of Cuba. The whole idea of the poster was to encourage Chinese people to support Castro in "liberating" Cuba or something along those lines. The irony of the poster made me chuckle a little, but at the same time, it made me think about the direction China is taking again.
China has come a long way since the days of Mao Zedong. At first glance, it seems that China is improving, but will China's future really be that much better? The gap between the rich and poor is only getting worse, and the people of China still have virtually no rights. China has made an extremely large amount of economic progress in a short amount of time, but the people of China as a whole have seen little benefit from this progress. The image of Castro leading Cuba to "liberation" reminds me a little of China's situation now. Where is China headed? Is it really a change that will benefit all of the people of China?