The Beijing Central Axis Culture Communication Young Envoy competition, a prominent segment of the 2023 Beijing Central Axis Cultural Heritage Inheritance and Innovation Competition, concluded its final round over the recent weekend. This event, a convergence of artistic talent and cultural heritage, drew the participation of hundreds of young artists, both local and international, under the theme “My Story with the Beijing Central Axis.”
The Beijing Central Axis, a historically significant 7.8-kilometer stretch that runs through the city’s heart from the Drum Tower and Bell Tower to the Yongding Gate, served as the inspiration for this cultural extravaganza. The competition saw 650 groups from 16 districts make it to the semi-finals, highlighting its inclusive and diverse nature. The final round was an international affair with 120 groups, featuring contestants from countries including the United States, the Philippines, Canada, Russia, South Korea, and Azerbaijan.
Participants showcased their unique interpretations of the Beijing Central Axis culture through various artistic mediums. The array of performances included paper-cut art, Beijing wool monkey art, silk wrapping crafts, fashion shows, piano recitals, lyrical expressions, street dance, and dramatic enactments. The cultural narratives were woven in a tapestry of languages such as Chinese, English, Russian, Spanish, Italian, and Korean, illustrating a deep respect and affection for the Beijing Central Axis.
Launched on June 15, this sub-track garnered substantial support from district education commissions and primary and secondary schools across Beijing. It also focused on collecting works inspired by the Beijing Central Axis Heritage Culture Protection Base Schools. The competition’s integrity and depth were ensured by an expert panel of 23 judges from the fields of education, culture, and history, who oversaw the final rounds of the event.
Yu Dan, a renowned Chinese cultural scholar and professor at Beijing Normal University, remarked on the improvement in the quality and depth of understanding of the Beijing Central Axis culture compared to previous years. Emphasizing the concept of the Central Axis as more than language but as a lifestyle, Yu underscored the importance of public participation, starting with children, in its inheritance.
A standout moment in the competition involved Wei Jiahong, a hearing-impaired student from the Dongcheng District Special Education School in Beijing. Wei presented a sketch of the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests within the Temple of Heaven, sharing his interpretation and connection to this heritage site in his unique way.
Guo Hongxia, the principal of Haidian Experimental Second Elementary School, reflected on the role of children in perpetuating the cultural legacy of the Central Axis. Viewing the Axis as a tangible line, he regarded the children as the ‘extension line’ of the Chinese cultural gene, symbolizing their crucial role in carrying forward the essence of this cultural landmark.
The competition, thus, stood not only as a platform for artistic expression but also as a significant cultural initiative, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation of Beijing’s Central Axis among the younger generations. It served as a bridge connecting the past with the present, and potentially, with the future, through the vibrant and diverse interpretations of its rich heritage.