Thursday, June 9, 2011

A Week in Shanghai

Well, I had all good intentions of posting lots of photos and updates while I was in Shanghai but of course had forgotten one teensy problem. Blogger, Facebook, Google, Youtube - all no-goes in China, despite the fact that anyone can pay for a computer program to circumnavigate the government's strict censorship laws. It still astonishes me that this country, so modern in so many ways, can still be so archaic when it comes to freedom of speech and access to information. But that's another day's rant... So, here are a few belated updates on my week in Shanghai.

Firstly, I spent three full days at Yew Chung International school, giving talks and running workshops with their primary students who were delightful. Yew Chung is completely bilingual, with all subjects being taught in Chinese and English. All the same, it was lots of fun to get kids drawing - a language that crosses all cultural boundaries.

Thursday morning was the official opening of the Australian Illustrator's exhibition at the Shanghai Children's Museum, where Ann James and Alison Lester were presented with portraits by an enthusiastic group of kindergarten students who had sat impressively still and quiet all throughout the long and formal speeches.

Then the weekend was busy at the Children's museum: Ann Haddon giving tours of the exhibition, Leigh Hobbs running Old Tom drawing classes, Ann James running painting workshops and me running collage workshops with local children and their parents, amazed that I still had enough rusty Chinese to get by.

After long days, evenings were spent wandering along the Bund, sipping cocktails at the Peace Hotel or gorging ourselves at restaurants, and we still managed to squeeze in some shopping whenever we had a free moment. So much so that I could hardly close my suitcase to come home.

I feel extremely lucky to have been a part of this wonderful exhibition and, judging by the enthusiasm of local parents, teachers and publishers, let's hope it paves the way for many more Australian-Chinese cultural exchanges to come.


  1. Hey, you're back! It all sounds wonderful. And it's reassuring to know we have such talented, friendly ambassadors. See you soon! jx

  2. It was indeed great you are back.I love the street art in Melbourne too – so easy to just wander around and snap photo after photo of all the paintings and paste-ups. I love that the city has embraced the graff artists – you can even get a tourist map showing.

  3. Sounds like it was a huge success, on every front! And great chance to use your Chinese. I realised Facebook was banned in Vietnam when we were there, too. Amazing, isn't it?! x

  4. I too wonder why such a great country like China would be so archaic when it comes to freedom of speech and information access.

  5. Hi Rach - gosh I didn't know it was banned in Vietnam, that's news to me! Thanks Letter and Art School for your comments and Jen, looking forward to a cuppa!

  6. Dear Sally,
    I love and admire your drawings, imagination, listening skills, & empathy for NESs. Chinese is really your great linguistic assets(*I've read your some picture books related to Chinese). I have Japanese.
    Please keep up wonderful work. Hope one day, I could meet you in person.
    Best wishes, Sadami

  7. Oh wow, thanks Sadami! I hope one day we can meet too. Judging from your blog you're a Sydney resident so I imagine that it's very likely that we will bump into each other some day. Hope so!