On September 7th, 2019, the 4th NO-BOundaries International Art Exhibition with the theme of “A Drop of Water” was opened in the Building No.3 of Today Art Museum in Beijing. Nearly 100 young artists participated in the opening ceremony. Besides, the event attracted dozens of education experts and representatives of more than 30 art education institutions and schools. The distinguished guests at the opening ceremony are Ms. Yunlan He, the expert in Children’s Art Education, Prof. Shaochun Yin, Director of Children’s Art Committee of China Artists Association, Prof. Wei Zhen, Doctoral Supervisor of Art and Communication College of Beijing Normal University, Dr. Yingshi Yang, Deputy Director of the Public Education Department of the National Art Museum of China, Ms. Xiangling Lu, Vice-chairman of Hainan Artists Association, Dr. Peng Gao, Director of Today Art Museum, Ms. Yang Liu, Operations Manager of Columbia Global Centers | Beijing, Mr. Dingyi Yu, Product Manager of Office 365 of Microsoft Search Technology Center, and Ms. Baitong Yan, founder of NO-BOundaries.
Children from 15 Countries Gathered Together
NO-BOundaries exhibition with the theme of “A Drop of Water”, as the second stop of the 4th NO-BOundaries International Art Exhibition, was jointly organized by Today Art Museum, NO-BOundaries Committee, Columbia Global Centers | Beijing, Columbia Global Centers | Paris, Columbia Global Centers | Nairobi, Columbia Global Centers | Rio, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University. More than 700 paintings with the theme of “A Drop of Water” by teenagers and children from 15 countries are exhibited, including more than 200 traditional paintings and more than 500 electronic paintings. The young artists are aged from 3 to 18 years old. They conveyed their understanding and views towards “A Drop of Water” through the language of art, and aroused awareness of more people in saving “A Drop of Water”, calling on people to actively cherish water, care about water and protect water.
At the opening ceremony, Dr. Peng Gao delivered a speech. He said it was a great honor for students to have so many experts and scholars to review and guide their work when they participated in the exhibition. Dr. Gao said that “This exhibition is all about children. I hope that they will continue to create artwork and cherish every drop of water in their life, I also hope that children can use their brushes to make a difference in the future.”
Ms. Yunlan He conveyed the similar idea in her opening speech that aesthetic education should “teach fineness in details” and enable children to get inspirations from people and things around them, to experience and feel from the process, and so as to think and express themselves.
Ms. Yang Liu said, “I am honored to be here today on behalf of Columbia Global Centers | Beijing. Columbia University established nine centers worldwide. These nine centers not only bring Columbia University to every corner of the world, but also bring global knowledge and talents back to the campus. NO-BOundaries is a project supported by the Columbia Global Centers, and we witness the development of this project. In the future, I hope that this project can obtain more support and help, so that more children can benefit from it.”
Ms. Baitong Yan expressed her congratulations to the young artists in the exhibition. She said: “It is not only to showcase your work at Today Art Museum, but also your participation in the charity campaign with the theme of “A Drop of Water” that deserves our applause. You have awakened more people to protect the water and made more people rethink over the issue of a drop of water. You have taken on your responsibilities as world citizens, and when you grow up, you will surely use your creativity and leadership to build a better world.”
At the opening ceremony, guests presented young artists with certificates and took a group photo together. NO-BOundaries hopes to tell the children that participating in this activity doesn’t mean getting into a competition, but to truly care about and understand the world in the process of learning and creating art, and to express their own thinking and understanding through art. At the exhibition, the children not only enjoyed the pleasure of having their works exhibited, but also saw many paintings of their peers from all over the world.
Mr. Bing Xu, a well-known contemporary artist, also attended the exhibition as well. Ms. Baitong Yan introduced the artworks in the exhibition to Mr. Bing Xu.
Talk with Experts: When Art Meets Charity
In the morning of the opening ceremony, NO-BOundaries and Today Art Museum held the education seminar with the theme of “A Drop of Water”. During the seminar, the experts clarified the social significance of this charity art educational exhibition from their respective fields and practical experiences.
Ms. Yunlan He, the expert in Children’s Art Education, said, “Educational communications can create spark ideas……NO-BOundaries exhibition has rather idealized themes like ‘A Drop of Water’, ‘One Tree One City’ and so on.These themes ‘teach fineness in detail’, educating children to pay attention to society and fostering their sense of charity through their process of experience.”
Prof. Shaochun Yin said: “This society needs charity, because, there exists inequality in the distribution of wealth. Doing charity requires sympathy and compassion. In the Face of the current unbalanced in the distribution of educational resources, we must take the initiative to change it through our efforts, thus benefiting more people.”
Dr. Yingshi Yang said: “Everyone is a drop of water, and a drop of water reflects the world. Art museum is a place for public education, a laboratory for aesthetic education and an incubator for talents with new ideas.”
Prof. Wei Zhen recognized the idea that NO-BOundaries hope to cultivate the awareness of globalization among teenagers and children through art education. He shared with the educators at the exhibition his experience and gains in participating in NO-BOundaries International Art Exhibition as an academic consultant for the past three years. He said, “We don’t have specific studies to prove that art can directly affect children’s sense of social responsibility in the future, but we believe that with our small actions, we can change our country, and even change the world. In many cases, when what we believe has not been supported by any “facts” or “effects,” what we can do is to keep our faith and continue to do what we believe.”
In addition, Ms. Xiangling Lu shared with us how the Art Education Committee of Hainan Artists Association promoted the art course of “NO-BOundaries: A Drop of Water” in primary and secondary schools in Hainan province and organized academic activities. Ms. Lu Xiangling said that this year was the first time for them to participate in NO-BOundaries, and next year they plan to launch this activity in more primary and secondary schools and educational institutions, so that more students in Hainan can be engaged.
At the seminar Ms. Baitong Yan said, in the future, NO-BOundaries will pay more attention to the development of relevant courses, work with universities and experts to explore how to cultivate the next generation’s sense of social responsibility and consciousness of globalization by art education. She also mentioned: “We believe in enthusiasm of organizations and individuals through all over the work. The passion towards charity is using the power of the Internet, spread the seeds of beauty and plant them in the hearts of more teenagers and children. As these children grow up to be the constructors and managers of the world, to be the masters and leaders of the future, it is conceivable that they will become more actively involved in global governance. With their creativity and leadership, they will be the hope of the future on our planet.”
With the Help of Microsoft: When Art Meets Technology
In April this year, NO-BOundaries, together with the development team of Microsoft Office 365, created “A Mobile Art Gallery That Can be Heard” and invited young artists to introduce their works under the theme of “A Drop of Water” by recording audio, which was uploaded and stored in the applet called “Wei Ruan Ting Ting”. During the exhibition in Beijing, the visitors can listen to the stories and ideas of the artists through the applet of Microsoft both online and offline. NO-BOundaries has been exploring the possibility of multi-dimensional charity development cooperation. “A Mobile Art Gallery That Can be Heard” is a successful cooperation, which built a bridge of communication that can be seen and heard regardless of time and space for teenagers and children around the world.
Mr. Dingyi Yu, the representative of Office 365 Team belonging to Microsoft Search Technology Center, said at the opening ceremony: “This year, ‘A Mobile Art Gallery That Can be Heard’ has received works from more than 1,300 children. Engineers of Microsoft are very moved to see these works. Among the works, I was impressed by the one called ‘A Small Fish in the Desert’. The picture depicts a bottle in the desert, in which there is a small fish and a little water. The little artist told us that the water in the bottle was the last drop in the world. I was really touched after I understood the meaning behind the painting. Children are influencing adults to protect water resources in their innocent language.”
This exhibition with the theme of “A Drop of Water” exhibits more than 700 paintings by teenagers and children from 15 countries: China, the United States, France, Brazil, Kenya, India, South Korea, Japan, Germany, Britain, Greece, Afghanistan, the Philippines, Singapore and Canada, including more than 200 traditional paintings and more than 500 electronic paintings.
Meanwhile, NO-Boundaries launched a variety of art education activities during the exhibition, together with Today Art Museum and many other public-spirited schools and institutions. Children can not only see works of their peers closely, but also participate in colorful experience activities, having their artistic imagination and creativity stimulated.