Framing growing cultural connections

Innovative art residency program enhances exchanges between France and China, Cheng Yuezhu reports.

By Cheng Yuezhu | China Daily | Updated: 2024-05-07 05:43
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Yishu 8 hosted an exhibition showcasing works by its prize winners in April at Beijing's National Art Museum of China. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Near the Forbidden City lies a quaint courtyard with gray brick walls, crimson columns and old trees that extend branches beyond the compound's walls in Beijing's Dongcheng district.

The courtyard embodies a chapter in the history of friendship and exchange between China and France that goes back 100 years and lasts until today. The Sino-French University was located there since the 1920s. Now, it is home to Yishu 8, an art platform that provides residencies for artists from the two countries.

Every year since 2011, Yishu 8 has awarded its France Prize to three young French artists and invites them for a two- to three-month residency in Beijing. And since 2013, the China Prize has been offered annually to two Chinese artists, who are then invited to Paris for residencies.

French artist Lyes Hammadouche won in 2017 and arrived in Beijing for a two-month residency.

"I was provided with a place to stay and a studio to work in on the second floor of a former Sino-French University building, where the lighting was beautiful," Hammadouche recalls.

"It felt amazing to be here because it's one of the places where there really were exchanges between French and Chinese cultures. That's something that made it unique."

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