China Remixed: IU Presents a 10-Week Culture Festival

Novelist Ha Jin. Courtesy photo

BY PETER DORFMAN

This spring, Indiana University will celebrate the arts and culture of China from one end of campus to the other as the university presents China Remixed, a 10-week festival of art, music, food, and literature. But don’t expect dragons and red lanterns. “We’re highlighting the most progressive aspects of Chinese culture today,” says Ed Comentale, one of the festival’s key organizers. “This is not the Disney version.”

Comentale runs the provost’s Arts and Humanities Council, a campus-wide organization that is committed to creating a rich arts and humanities experience for all members of the IU community.

The festival is the first in an annual series that will focus on a different country each year, Comentale says. “China was an easy choice,” he explains. “We have nearly 3,000 Chinese students on campus. We want to show that the arts and humanities are central to our relationship with China.”

The multicultural festival will embrace mainland China, including ethnic minority cultures, as well as Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Chinese-American culture.

The featured musical guest is Wu Man, an internationally renowned virtuoso on a traditional Chinese string instrument called the pipa, who has played with the famed Kronos Quartet. She will perform March 31 at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater solo and with artists from the IU Jacobs School of Music.

Other festival performances will include the Focus Dance Group from the Taipei National University of the Arts; the Shaolin Warriors, a choreographed martial arts group; readings by National Book Award –winning novelist Ha Jin, and MacArthur Fellow graphic novelist Gene Yang; comic Joe Wong; and concerts by Chinese rock performers. A weekly speaker series includes important Chinese and Chinese-American academics and journalists.

There will be 20 film programs and multiple art exhibits, including an acclaimed exhibition of “Quilts of Southwest China,” now open at the Mathers Museum of World Cultures (416 N. Indiana Ave.).

“Quilts of Southwest China” is the result of a six-museum project that has involved the Mathers Museum since 2013. “This is our major exhibition for the season,” says Jason Jackson, director of the museum. The exhibit features 24 quilts, principally from Kunming in China’s southwest province of Yunnan. They feature a unique patchwork and applique tradition. “This is a rare opportunity,” Jackson says. “These pieces have never been outside China before.”

For information and schedules, visit magbloom.com/chinaremixed or email ahcouncil@indiana.edu.

MacArthur Fellow and graphic novelist Gene Yang. Courtesy photo

A trio of quilts from the exhibition “Quilts of Southwest China.” Courtesy photos

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