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Southwestern to Host Calligraphy Conference Oct. 8-10

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    Harrison Tu, a well-known Chinese calligrapher, is among the calligraphers who will be coming to Southwestern in October to participate in an international conference. Tu visited one of Professor Carl Robertson's calligraphy classes in February.

Conference will feature leading calligraphers from around the world

Some of the most prominent calligraphers from around the world will be coming to Southwestern Oct. 8-10 as the university hosts an international calligraphy conference.

The conference is the 8th international conference of the American Society for Shufa Calligraphy Education. Carl Robertson, associate professor of Chinese at Southwestern, is active in the society and organized the conference. He expects about 20 scholars and artists to attend the conference, including calligraphers from China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan.

The focus of the conference will be on the various ways shufa, or East Asian, calligraphy adapts to different cultures. “Shufa” (“writing methods”) is the Chinese term for which “calligraphy” is the nearest but inexact equivalent. Shufa is the traditional means of writing characters by brush and ink that comprises the standard for Chinese characters. Robertson said the purpose of the conference is to showcase how Chinese calligraphy has the potential to cross boundaries in space, disciplines and teaching methods.

Several students in Robertson’s First-Year Seminar on calligraphy have helped organize the conference, along with students who took an independent study class.

In preparation for the conference, the Fine Arts Gallery at Southwestern has an exhibit on display titled “Calligraphy: The Art of the Written Line” that features some of the facsimile scrolls from the Taipei National Palace Museum that Southwestern owns. The scrolls are a selection from the Six Dynasties Period (256-581) through the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). The exhibit will be on display through Oct. 8 and then again from Oct. 17-Nov. 18.

On Oct. 9-10, the Fine Arts Gallery will feature an exhibition by master calligraphers attending the conference. This 24-hour exhibition, titled “Crisscross 24,” will be organized by students in Kristen Van Patten’s  Exhibition Practicum class.

A reception for the show will be held at 7 p.m. Oct. 9 and will feature live calligraphy demonstrations in the gallery. Robertson said this reception will be the signature event of the conference. “The reception will demonstrate the social engagement of Chinese calligraphy with close relations between artist, live audience and the work that generates in a moment of that engagement,” he said.  

Robertson said he plans to bring several other prominent calligraphers to campus later in the year as a follow up to the conference.  

 

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