On loan to the Manchester District Library from the Michigan 4-H Children’s Art Exchange project are several pieces of art created by Chinese students from Michigan 4-H’s partner province of Shandong, of the People’s Republic of China. One of the goals of this art exchange is to help children better understand and appreciate one another’s culture.
Displayed on the library’s main floor are modern and traditional paintings by children of Shandong between the ages of 4 and 12. Each titled piece has a short narrative about the depiction and how it is relevant to the artist’s life.
Next time you visit the Manchester District Library, take some time to contemplate these paintings. If you have children, invite them to talk about what they see in the paintings, what they feel when looking at the paintings, and discuss how the art shows that life in China is similar to life in the United States and how our lives differ. What is the artist “telling” the viewer with the painting? Do we need to speak the same language to communicate? Let your child explore these thoughts.
Art can provide a barrier free communication tool between languages and cultures. We hope that you make time to explore the impressive work of these children, and perhaps follow your library visit with some painting of your own.