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Tuesday 15 December 2015

Solent unite east and west in new exhibition

Southampton locals and visitors alike could get a little taste of Shanghai this winter at Solent Showcase Gallery’s free exhibition.

Shanghai Women’s Art and Design Collective, open from December 2015 until 10 February 2016, brought work from seven of Shanghai Institute of Technology’s (SIT) female artists and lecturers to the public.

The exhibition captured the spirit of collaboration and friendship between east and west, and built on Southampton Solent University’s close creative relationship with Shanghai Institute of Technology.

Professor Wu Feifei with her work

“This show is a real snapshot of what is happening in Shanghai at the moment, and it’s really great that they’ve shared that with us,” said Peter Lloyd, Director of Solent University’s School of Art, Design and Fashion.

“This exhibition gives people the opportunity to come and witness, experience, and hopefully be inspired by a range of visual communication approaches from Shanghai.

“Over the last five years the University’s School of Art, Design and Fashion has built up a close creative relationship with Shanghai Institute of Technology. This international partnership enriches the school, and underpins the University’s commitment to providing an excellent teaching experience with an international focus.

“I’d really like to thank the members of the Shanghai Institute of Technology for all their support and for all the amazing work they put together.”

Xiaoling Dai is studying Chinese traditional graphics in modern design

The exhibition’s diverse works covered areas such as issues of traditional and the contemporary, east and west, the environment and friendship. The Dialogue of East and West by Professor Wu Feifei, Dean of the Department of Visual Communication Design at SIT’s School of Art and Design, is a masterpiece of calligraphy that blends English and Chinese into one harmonious whole.

“We would like to say a general thank you to everybody involved in the exhibition, and want to let you know how much we appreciate all your help, support and friendship,” said Professor Wu Feifei. “This exhibition makes our relationship much stronger and takes co-operation and agreement between Southampton Solent University and Shanghai Institute of Technology to a much higher level.

Qian Zhao and her colourful display

“I love Southampton very much, that’s the reason why every year I bring students across to take part in a summer school at Southampton Solent University. My tip for graphic design students is to see more, think more, and look more. They should travel more and talk with different people; then they will get different ideas.”

Qian Zhao’s colourful, superbly designed animals offer an alternative to western ‘Disney-esque’ anthropomorphisation. “I chose the colours, red, blue, green, orange, because when you look at them you think Chinese, and they are all the colours we would normally use. Even though it is based on creativity, I wanted to show the Chinese culture to people in Britain,” she says.


Guang Yang’s wonderful seascapes and patterns combine the past with a modern sensibility. She said: “My inspiration comes from a very old philosopher, over 1,000 years old, who had a phrase that means be like water. I feel really proud and honoured to have my work displayed in Solent Showcase and I feel very thankful for everyone’s help.”

Environmental concerns emerge clearly from Frances Wang’s work

Environmental concerns emerge clearly from Frances Wang’s striking and forceful imagery. “My work covers two points; water pollution, which is a big problem right now, and the other is communication and culture exchange. It’s really important to keep your traditional culture, who you really are, but also try to combine it with other culture, which creates a great communication and shows other people what sort of effect it would create,” she said.

The combination of patterns, shapes and calligraphy in Dandan Zhou’s work is beautifully realised, while Xiaoling Dai’s superb line is both precise and expressive. “I’m studying Chinese traditional graphics in modern design, and my work here is based on Chinese culture and traditional style. I’m so happy that everyone can see it,” said Xiaoling.

Well Wang’s dark work explores the internet and modern technology

Well Wang’s dark work explores the internet and modern technology.  “I feel very proud of what I have achieved. Design is based on experience, so my advice to students is that while you’re still young, go out and see different cultures. Make sure you’ve got that foundation of experience so that you’ve always got something to help and inspire your design,” she said.

Dandan Zhau’s colourful work