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2009: Europalia China

The 2009 edition of the EUROPALIA festival, EUROPALIA CHINA, consisted of 567 events: 48 exhibitions, 100 concerts, 188 literary events and seminars, 28 dance performances, 57 theatre performances, and 146 film screenings. The spectacular festival attracted 1,101,175 people, and contained 4 major themes: Eternal China, Contemporary China, Colourful China, and China and the World.

The EUROPALIA CHINA tea house at the foot of the Mont des Arts in Brussels was the starting point of the art walk China in Town. Inside, the public was introduced to the art of tea as well as Chinese culinary specialities. In addition, they could participate in various cultural workshops: calligraphy, Chinese storytelling, tai chi, paper cutting, qi gong, watercolour painting, and even painting on silk.

There were five main exhibitions: Son of Heaven presented 250 masterpieces – half of which had never before left China – which focused on power and rituals. The Silk Road traced the famous route of the same name from Chang’An to Kashgar.

The Three Dreams of the Mandarin revealed the poetic and private aspects of the lives of Chinese scholars. The Orchid Pavilion gave insight into the ancient, but still very much alive art of calligraphy. Finally, The State of Things created a dialogue between contemporary Chinese art and Belgian artists

Both traditional and contemporary Chinese operas, such as Tang Xianzu’s Dream On Dreams and The Legend of the White Serpent, were part of the festival.

Shadow theatre, hand puppets, and marionettes enchanted both young and old, as did the extraordinary lion dance by the Shenzhen Lion Dance Group, which animated the streets of Brussels and Antwerp. The acrobats of the Chinese National Acrobatic Troupe closed the festival.

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