Children from Chinese families had an exciting day on Tuesday 4 October, when they were part of the welcome to the Confucius Institute which was officially opened at the University of Glasgow by First Minister Alex Salmond MSP.
The Institute –a partnership with China’s prestigious Nankai University– is part of a network of more than 350 around the world, supported by the Chinese government to spread awareness, understanding and appreciation of Chinese language and culture.
Funded by the Chinese National Office of Chinese Language Council International – known as Hanban – the main purpose of the Confucius Institute is to teach the Chinese language. It will also organise cultural activities, including lectures and exhibitions and provide information and support for businesses in Scotland planning to operating in China.
The ceremony in the University’s Bute Hall was attended by Li Ruiyou, Chinese Consul General of the People’s Republic of China in Scotland, and Xiaogang Tian, Minister Counsellor for Education, Chinese Embassy London.
Mr Salmond said: ‘The promotion of the educational, economic and cultural ties between Scotland and China are further strengthened by the creation of the Confucius Institute at the University of Glasgow. The work being done in partnership with Nankai University will support the Scottish Government’s China Plan through support for Confucius Classroom hubs and for Sino-Scottish business links.
‘During the past two years, I have had the pleasure of visiting China twice to reinforce this bond and I am greatly looking forward to returning later this year. It is vital that the Scottish Government, our agencies and Scotland’s business and education organisations continue to do all they can to advance Scotland’s relationship with mainland China and Hong Kong, particularly as we pursue opportunities to build growth and therefore a stronger Scotland.’
Professor Jane Duckett, Director of the Confucius Institute, said: ‘Our aim is to increase understanding of China, its fascinating language, and its rich culture. China is playing an ever more important role in the world. Within the next decade or so, it will be the world’s biggest economy and it will become an increasingly important trading partner and investor for Scotland and the UK. It is therefore essential to Scotland’s future economic success that we understand China in all its diversity and are able to communicate with its people.
She continued: ‘The Confucius Institute will make a significant contribution to the Scottish Government’s China Plan through support for Confucius Classroom hubs and for Sino-Scottish business links. It is a symbol of Glasgow’s and the West of Scotland’s engagement with China and will be an important source of support for that engagement across education, the arts and business.’
The Confucius Institute builds on long-standing research collaborations focused on social sciences, arts, business and chemistry, between the University of Glasgow and Nankai University in the major northern city of Tianjin.
The focus of the Institute’s programmes will be on contemporary Chinese society and culture, promoting understanding between young people in Scotland and China, and supporting links between the cities of Glasgow and Tianjin.
One of the first events organised by the new Institute is a six-week exhibition of art works by Professor Fan Zeng, one of China’s most famous artists, whose traditional ‘splashed ink’ and figure drawings are hugely popular in China. The exhibition will run until 20 November in the Kelvin Gallery of the Hunterian Museum.
The Confucius Institute is located in the John McIntyre Building on the University’s Gilmorehill Campus. For more information visit www.gla.ac.uk/about/confucius/ and see a video of the children of Glebe Primary School, Irvine who performed an umbrella dance for the opening ceremony on University’s Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/glasgowuniversity
Head teacher Francine MacKenzie of Glebe Primary told this website:’The children had a wonderful day at Glasgow University at the opening of the Confucius Institute. One parent phoned me the next morning to say thank you for giving her son the best opportunity of his life so far. The Chinese families whose children attend this school, consider themselves Scottish and are very pleased that we celebrate their other culture. We take full advantage of every opportunity to learn of the richness of Chinese culture.’ The school has already sent teachers to visit China and is about to send another one to study Mandarin.
To an Asian bride, the intricate application of mehndi – henna patterns on her skin – is a most significant part of her pre-wedding ritual.
So the fact that Farah Khan, a leading mehndi artist, is to attend the Occasions Scottish Asian Wedding Show on Sunday 4 April at the Radisson BLU Hotel in Glasgow is a great coup for the show organisers, Oceanic. But more than that: Farah, who has written the First British Book of Henna, will create designs for visitors to the show and will donate 50% of the proceeds to Cancer Research.
Bridal mehndi is a most intricate and complex art. Dating back centuries, the elaborate patterns often incorporate the initials of the bride and groom. Legend has it that on their wedding night, the groom must first find those initials by searching his new wife’s decorated body, before anything else.
Said Farah: ‘For Asian brides, their mehndi is something very special. It is a ritual of great importance with a lot of emotional ties and is often very therapeutic for a bride. When I touch her hands she will start to talk – and often she will tell me things she wouldn’t tell anyone!’
Fashion in design currently favours floral motifs with flowers, leaves and paisley patterns flowing and entwined. To see the many wonderful designs which can be created by mehndi artists such as Farah Khan, visit the show which runs from 12 noon till 7pm. Farah, herself, will attend between 12 noon and 3pm and other skilled mehndi artists will also be demonstrating their expertise.
The event showcases clothing, jewellery, make-up and all the other important elements that make for a happy and successful wedding. The professionals who can provide all the services required, will be on hand to advise families planning such an auspicious event. Wedding planners will find unique and exciting elements at this show to give their special day, memorable perfection.
Glasgow lawyer-turned-painter Patricia Cain has won Scotland’s premier arts prize for her radical depictions of the city’s new Riverside Museum.
Patricia, 46, won the £15,000 Aspect Prize after beating three other talented artists with her images of the city’s rapidly changing waterfront. The competition attracted nearly 160 entries.
After turning her back on the legal professional, Patricia studied for a doctorate, which was awarded by the School of Art in 2008.
Westender Patricia said: ‘I am stunned. It’s been a very hard process. I gave up a lot to be able to make art. In the last five years, money has been my biggest worry.
‘We really have been living on the breadline, as most artists do. I went from having a stable job to being a struggling artist. Winning the Aspect Prize makes all the difference in the world.’
Her success was announced at the Fleming Gallery in London by art lover and Taggart actor Alex Norton. Three runners-up, Alec Galloway from Inverclyde, Renfrewshire-born Scot Sinclair who lives in Lafayette, Louisiana, and Glasgow’s Paul Kennedy, each received £5,000.
Chairman of the panel of judges, Charles Jamieson, commented: ‘The confidence and complexity of her paintings made Patricia a clear winner and although judging was difficult, in the end it was the strength and impact of the work itself which swung it in her favour.’
Artist Emily Chappell is putting her talents to work at one of her favourite charity shops after she decided it needed a facelift.
Emily, 26, an illustrator and Glasgow School of Art graduate, will paint a mural in the Mary’s Meals shop in Duke Street, Dennistoun, using her own colourful designs.
The Mary’s Meals shop raises money to provide school meals for children in some of the world’s poorest countries. Emily thought that it would benefit from a brighter, more up-to-date look – and offered to provide it.
The redesign will cost the charity nothing – Emily’s skills are voluntary, and Impact Arts, a neighbouring social enterprise company, is providing the paint.
Mary’s Meals retail co-ordinator, Sharon Campbell, said: ‘You often hear of artists showing their work in famous department stores or restaurants, but this is the first time, that we know of it, that it has happened in a Scottish charity shop.
‘We hope that Emily’s work will be an attraction and a talking point for customers for a long time to come.’
Mary’s Meals hope Emily’s mural will be completed in time for the Christmas rush.
Emily has an exhibition of her drawings set for March next year at The Tron, and had a solo exhibition at The Drawing Room Gallery in Glasgow.