Changchun is a city of about 7 million in Northeast China. There are about 20 universities in town and I am giving lectures at the Northeast Normal University. I have three regular lectures on Mezzotint, Northwest Coast native American Culture and the Wroclaw Academy of Fine Art and Design, and a demonstration of mezzotint printing.
Not many people here speak English so I usually have a translator with me and it is someone from the University Art Department. Being in a country where I don’t speak the language is difficult but makes for interesting situations, often very funny situations. Especially when you order food, many times I don’t know if what I got was what I ordered.
The teachers in the Art Department have been very helpful. They pick me up in the morning and take me to the school, they make sure I have three meals a day and they are very gracious hosts. They even gave me my own private office where I can go to ‘rest’.
The first day I was here there was a big dust storm. This is typical for this time of year. During the day everything gets covered with a thin layer of very fine dust. When you are outside you can taste it in the air and many people wear masks.
The food is very good, not as spicy as in the center part of China but nicely ‘hot’. I have had some interesting things but haven’t tried dog yet. Since I grew up with dogs as pets I can’t bring myself to try their meat. I did however try fried silkworm caterpillars and they are excellent. Prof. Wang Lianmin told me one small caterpillar has the protein content of two eggs. So I guess during the meal I ate about 50-60 eggs.
I visited the Changchun Sculpture Garden and was amazed that they had a collection of African Sculpture. The collection is truly fantastic with hundreds of wood carvings. I have never seen such a beautiful collection of African Art.
My first lecture on mezzotint was attended by about 200 students and teachers. I didn’t see anyone leave or asleep so it must have been OK. After the lecture I was approached by deans from three other universities here in Changchun with invitations to lecture at their schools. Sorry but not enough time this trip.
Thursday I go to Tianjin by high speed train to visit friends at the TAFA Art Academy there. I am looking forward to the 7 hour train ride. So far this is a great trip. The people are very nice, the food is excellent and other than the dust storm the weather has been cool (early spring) but very pleasant.