China Builds Bridges with Art in Sri Lanka Cultural Exhibit

Art lovers were left breathless as they admired the intricate designs Chinese artist Lui Yamei had painstakingly weaved into the world’s longest embroidered scroll.

The world’s longest embroidered scroll was one of many art pieces on exhibit during a three-day Chinese art show in Sri Lanka, as part of an initiative to build trust between the two nations.

Art lovers were left breathless as they admired the intricate designs Chinese artist Lui Yamei had painstakingly weaved into the fabric. The gifted weaver holds the Guinness World Record for the largest piece of embroidery completed by an individual, and had traveled to Sri Lanka as an unofficial cultural ambassador.

The 50-meter-long masterpiece depicted Buddhist themes and was one of 60 cultural artworks on display during the China Times Memory Exhibition. According to Sri Lankan government ministers, the exhibit, which ended Wednesday, was organized in an effort to promote understanding of the country’s cultural background.

“Excellent Chinese culture heritages should be revitalized in a new era via innovative market measures,” Zhang Ronghua, a political adviser, told the Global Times. “The artworks should be introduced to the world to help foreigners better understand China.”

One of the main motives was to show visitors fundamental similarities between the two cultures. The formation of sound international relationships has become vital since the inception of the Belt and Road initiative, which accelerates trade and political ties between China, Pakistan, Myanmar and Sri Lanka.

“Exchanges on intangible culture heritage between China and Sri Lanka have found new momentum in years with the advent of Belt and Road initiative,” said Sri Lankan Cultural Minister for the Chinese Embassy, Liu Dong.

The hope is that the relationship and mutual respect between Sri Lanka and China will supercede art and culture and reflect on the economy with business and industry, Sri Lankan Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation Nimal Siripala de Silva, said. This strategy has been exercised numerous times in the past, one of the most recent incidences appearing in Kieve, Ukraine and in Britain in August.

“We are seeing China in a different manner now, not only as a country with great artists but also as a global power, which makes it more important to understand the country,” said  Anuradha Yahampath, who works at a local handmade art company as acting design director.

However, for talented artists like Yamei the initiative provides ample opportunity to exhibit their work at an international level. The Chinese government’s support for culturally inspired art promises a future of success for the nation’s art community.

Subsidies ranging from 3,000 yuan ($454) to 20,000 yuan (US$3000) have been offered to numerous artists. According to a statement from the Ministry of Culture, China spent over 4.6 billion yuan (US$7 million) on preserving similar art styles which have developed over the last five years.

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