The Soul of the Black Earth

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Soul of the Black Earth Image

Who this event is for

  • Everyone


Abercrombie Building, The Glass Tank, Headington Campus, Gipsy Lane site


This summer, The Soul of the Black Earth, an exhibition of contemporary Chinese woodblock prints, will be presented to the Glass Tank by the Confucius Institute at Oxford Brookes University and the Heilongjiang Provincial Museum of Art in China. The exhibition, a One Belt and One Road project will provide a chance to look back on a momentous and critical 60-year history of the Heilongjiang province in China. The Soul of the Black Earth seeks to tell the story of four generations of printmakers. Each print in the exhibition is a document of modern Chinese history and is a reflection of the souls of their makers and the character of Heilongjiang, the Black Earth.

To tell this story we must start in 1958 when thousands of soldiers, demobilised by the Korean War, were sent to Heilongjiang. Their purpose was to transform the Heilongjiang wasteland into prosperous farmland. Yet, amongst the soldiers were many amateur artists who took the fertility of the land and the momentum of socialist realism as inspiration for new, innovative work. These printmakers became pioneers for their use of landscape and inventive utilisation of distinctive printmaking techniques. Generation after generation gave way to new artists, each one as inspired by the political and economic disturbances as the next.  Each generation passed on developments to the next, but the artists never failed to produce works characteristic of the Heilongjiang region and with a sense of their own soul. 

There are now 200 active printmakers in Heilongjiang, their styles are as versatile as ever and their achievements continue to gain international recognition. 

Organised by the Glass Tank, Confucius Institute at Oxford Brookes University and the Heilongjiang Provincial Art Museum in China, we would like to warmly invite you to The Soul of the Black Dragon River and to share in our story with us.

During the exhibition woodblock printing workshops will be organised for the public to participate in. Dates of these workshops will be announced closer to the time.

The Soul of the Black Dragon Earth: Contemporary printmaking from the Heilongjiang Provincial Museum of Art in China will be shown from Wednesday 25 July – 31 August 2018 in the Glass Tank gallery at Oxford Brookes University.