Each year, "Meet in Beijing," one of Asia's biggest art festivals, draws the world's top artists to the Chinese capital, who share their art experiences and creative inspirations. This year, they're shedding light on the relationship between art and life.
At a forum held Tuesday, industry professionals from China and abroad gave their takes on the connection between "Arts Festivals and City Life." Some also shared their experiences in running art festivals in various cities, including renowned Chinese singer Tian Haojiang.
Since 2014, the artist has been behind "iSing!" – a festival dedicated to promoting Chinese vocal art and training vocal talents in the eastern city of Suzhou. Tian said he believes art festivals should be closely connected with cities. During the iSing! Festival in Suzhou, artists present a series of performances in streets, communities, hotels and cafes. The festival was integrated into people's daily lives. He added: "'Meet in Beijing' also adds great vitality to Beijing's urban life. We're also working closely with the festival to bring more productions to the capital."
Several artists from abroad also shared their views online, including Theodoros Terzopoulos, founder and chairman of the International Committee of the Theatre Olympics: "I think arts festivals should focus on presenting urban life in a new way, rather than explaining it through the precise terms that already exist. Especially in the post-pandemic era, arts festivals should create a new space for dialogue between artists and audiences."
Mariana Aymerich, head of the International Cervantino Festival, pointed out: "Urban art festivals are not simply festivals happening in cities but festivals of the cities. They are multi-dimensional, complex events held together by drawing on urban identity, urban lifestyles and values. Festivals persist and even spread as institutional forms and cultural organizations because they foster that sense of place that humans need in their social life."
Besides the forum, a performing art presentation also took place at the festival this week, featuring over 70 domestic art troupes and companies with their latest productions, dances, operas, acrobatics, symphonies, folk music and dramas.
Participants believe such events can play a vital role in showcasing cities' cultural identity in an increasingly globalized environment. The 21st "Meet in Beijing" Arts Festival will run through February 4.