Boston’s Faneuil Hall Marketplace recently hosted an extraordinary digital art exhibition, “An Era in Jinling,” captivating visitors with an immersive journey into ancient China. This digital marvel, created by the Deji Art Museum in Nanjing, brought to life the ancient city of Jinling, now known as Nanjing, through the fusion of art and advanced technology.
The exhibition featured 14 recent works by Chen Mingqiang, a faculty member of the Experimental Art and Science and Technology Art College at the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA). The highlight was the interactive digital artwork based on the ancient Chinese painting “An Era in Jinling,” which allowed visitors to physically immerse themselves in the historical cityscape of Jinling from the Song Dynasty era. This unique experience was greatly admired by attendees, including Bostonian Amaris Malfa, who found it to be a vibrant and moving portrayal of ancient Chinese culture.
The See Nanjing cultural exhibition showcased not only this digital artwork but also Chinese garden arts and intangible cultural heritage from Nanjing. The ‘Global Smile Delivery’ section highlighted Nanjing’s historical and modern elements, showing the city’s evolution over 2,500 years. Ai Lin, the director of the Deji Art Museum, led the development of this innovative digital exhibition. She explained that the goal was to provide a deeper understanding of Jinling’s cultural heritage and daily life dating back 1,000 years.
The digital handscroll, magnified and projected onto a massive screen, depicted a bustling city with hundreds of figures, animals, and vehicles. Visitors could interact with these figures in real time, creating a dynamic and engaging experience. Ai emphasized the museum’s commitment to using technology to bridge history and art, encouraging visitors to become ambassadors of Chinese culture.
In preparation for the US tour, Ai and her team conducted extensive research to ensure that the exhibition resonated with local understandings of Chinese culture. The aim was to make Chinese culture accessible to all, regardless of their prior knowledge of China. Ai remarked on the importance of presenting and exploring China’s rich cultural heritage to international audiences.
Chinese Consul General in New York, Huang Ping, noted in his opening address the historical significance of Nanjing as one of the cradles of Chinese civilization. He drew parallels between the Qinhuai River in Nanjing and the Charles River in Boston, both witnesses to major historical events.
Huang Ping also highlighted the exhibition’s contribution to cultural understanding and exchange, strengthening the bonds of friendship between China and the United States. The exhibition featured unique elements like “Insect Poetry” and “Insect Painting,” representing the harmonious coexistence between mankind and nature.
Additionally, the exhibition showcased Nanjing’s rich intangible cultural heritage, including Pingtan and Kunqu Opera, often referred to as a living fossil of Chinese theatrical art.
This immersive exhibition served not only as a window into China’s cultural treasures but also as a catalyst for increasing interest in Chinese civilization and its influence on the world. The exhibition’s success in Boston symbolized a significant step in cultural exchanges, fostering understanding and appreciation of the rich tapestry of Chinese history and art.