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Artists hold webinar on sustainable development

By Cheng Yuezhu | China Daily | Updated: 2020-09-22 11:28
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In celebration of the 75th anniversary of the United Nations' founding, experts and artists from home and abroad joined an online seminar on art and sustainable development on Saturday.

The webinar was co-hosted by the China Federation of Literary and Art Circles and the China Foreign Languages Publishing Administration.

The short art film, Body & Mind United in Dance on the Same Earth, premiered at the seminar. It features 11 dancers from nine countries grieving for people who lost their lives to COVID-19, as they express their reverence for nature and life through dance. The film project was initiated by Beijing Dance Theater.

China International Publishing Group President Du Zhanyuan gave a keynote speech, entitled Art Rallies Strength, Culture Drives Development. He says art and culture should draw on traditional wisdom while exploring modern values in the face of the pandemic. Exchanges, mutual learning, innovation and sharing are also indispensable, he says.

"Culture and art are a major force for building a harmonious world. With the concerted efforts of the UN and insightful people in all countries, we will give full play to the role of culture and art in poverty alleviation, in inclusive development and in addressing such common challenges as climate change and infectious diseases."

Experts and artists expressed the consensus that, despite social distancing and restricted international travel, international cooperation is still essential in driving art and cultural development.

"Creativity, ideas and engagement in a global dialogue are the vital energy we need to address the great challenges ahead," Olga Algayerova, undersecretary-general and executive secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Europe, said in her keynote speech.

Chinese Musicians Association President Ye Xiaogang says music and art should be injected with new connotations at different times, and progress can be made through international exchanges and technological advances.

He voices optimism that a new music-appreciation trend is emerging, supported by new technologies such as 5G and artificial intelligence. That is, music that used to be characterized by live experience is quickly shifting onto online platforms, which provides a field of experimentation for future creation.

"It's not simply a transition from offline to online but evidence that music is integrating with new technology in the digital era, heralding the evolution of contemporary music in creation techniques, forms of performance and media of dissemination," Ye says.

"I believe that the influence of excellent works will be greatly enhanced around the world, bringing a profound impact on the development of human society and civilization."

Chinese Dancers Association President Feng Shuangbai says that art can bring people together, and realizing the UN Sustainable Development Goals requires integrating the wisdom of humankind through cultural and artistic exchanges.

"Humankind shares a common destiny," Feng says.

"People need to understand one another more deeply through art and culture. And mutual exchange and learning will, in turn, allow us to know ourselves better," Feng says.

Other speakers who gave their views via video call include Chinese National Academy of Arts President Han Ziyong, Tom Stein, professor at Berklee College of Music in the United States, and Angelika Schroeder, rector of the College of the Arts of Namibia.

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