Dunhuang, in the remote Gansu province, is a symbol of openness, inclusion and infusion, for here is where different cultures along the ancient Silk Road crisscrossed, exchanged and created the brilliant fruits such as the Mogao Caves. Today, it has continued to attract artists from across the world.
A recent event of such a purpose teamed up 18 young artists from nine countries who, in a five-day journey, gained experience in the past and present of Dunhuang culture. The trip took them to landmark sites including the Mogao Grottoes, Mingsha Mountain (Echo Sand Mountain) and Crescent Moon Spring, among others. The natural landscape and vivid examples of Buddhist art helped simulate in their minds the booming scenes of traders, envoys and Buddhist followers, whose activities in Dunhuang and neighboring areas enriched the history of ancient Silk Road.
Artists, for many of whom this was there first time visiting Dunhuang, saw the murals and statues from different periods of time which they used to find only in books, and they were inspired to create artworks on site.
Chichina Yang Ni from the United States said that before the trip, she had imagined a lot about Duhuang and its artistic legacies in the desert of Northwest China. When she finally entered the caves, face-to-face with the Buddhist statues sculpted by artisans 1,000 years ago, she was able to observe those details with her own eyes. The art, the history and the natural surroundings jointly brought her unexpected feelings of awe.
Perepelitcyna Anastasiia from Russia says she used to read books and albums about Dunhuang in which the colors of the murals were bright and intense; while in Dunhuang, she also found light shades of colors which are atmospheric and warm, and she wanted to share her firsthand experiences, through her paintings, with people back home.
Chinese artist Lin Jinfu says he was curious of the feelings his international counterparts had about Northwest China and the ancient Silk Road, and he hoped the trip would open up more in-depth exchanges with them.