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WUXI, CHINA – As part of his official trip to China last week, Councilman Ron Nirenberg (D8) met with three of the international artists from Wuxi who will travel to San Antonio for the Luminaria multi-arts festival. This year, the popular event will take place in the Eastside this weekend.
Chen Hao, Ge Qiang, and Geng Minxia, all residents of Wuxi, San Antonio’s sister city, will present their works, speak with students in the city’s art programs, and interact with fellow artists during the festival, which runs from Wednesday through Saturday, Nov. 9-12.
“My mentor, former San Antonio Mayor Phil Hardberger, wanted to create a festival that would be a celebration of world art,” Nirenberg told the Wuxi artists. “With your attendance, we are looking forward to showing San Antonio just how strong our ties to China have become.”
Chen, who paints landscapes as well as portrayals of traditional Chinese stories, said that he hopes to show festival attendees the elements commonly presented in Chinese paintings, and explain the process behind certain traditional painting techniques.
As part of the artists’ trip to San Antonio, the trio will visit several art programs at schools and universities in the city. Geng, who is a traditional Chinese calligraphist, will demonstrate her calligraphy for students.
“I will discuss the different patterns of traditional calligraphy and encourage students to try it for themselves or ask me questions,” Geng said.
The artists said that they are also excited to see the installations and pieces from other artists at the festival and hope to see the some of the famous public art in San Antonio.
“I am particularly interested in meeting contemporary artists because I studied a mix of western and Chinese art in school,” Ge, who is an oil painter, said. “I think that being in San Antonio in person will be an inspiration for our art, as well.”
Many international artists also will attend the festival including Cuerpo Etéreo, a dance company from Monterrey, Mexico, and Daniel Eime, a muralist and stencil artist from Portugal, who painted a new mural in San Antonio for Luminaria. Ikar Muro, a muralist from another San Antonio sister city, Santa Cruz de Tenerife in Spain, will also present his mural, “Neon Drive,” which focuses on refracted light, that was specially commissioned for the festival.
“We are especially looking forward to meeting artists from around the world,” Ge said.
The trio, along with the other visiting artists, will attend a welcome reception with Mayor Ivy Taylor and members of City Council, tour downtown, and eat some famous Texas barbecue.
Chen, who follows the NBA closely, said that he is particularly excited to be in the hometown of the San Antonio Spurs.
“We’ll make sure you get a lot of Spurs gear, too,” Nirenberg said with a laugh.
Upon arrival to San Antonio, the Wuxi artists will attend a community open house at the Healy-Murphy Center on Saturday, Nov. 12, noon-4 p.m. An interpreter will be present to assist the artists in answering questions and interacting with attendees. The artists from Wuxi and Monterrey, Mexico, another sister city of San Antonio, also will be recognized at the festival’s closing party, which will be held Saturday, Nov. 12 from 8-10 p.m. at the venue.
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The complete Luminaria schedule can be found here.