Scholars Zheng Shengtian and Marisol Villela Balderrama have collaborated over much of the last decade on a research project documenting the visits of Mexican artists to China in the 1950s. Their goal was to study the under-examined impact of Mexican art and artists on the development of art in China in the twentieth century.
In this presentation, Zheng and Villela Balderrama presented on the trans-Pacific ties between the creative communities of Mexico and China and how these forces helped shape the development of Chinese contemporary art prior to the Cultural Revolution.
Zheng Shengtian is an artist, scholar and curator based in Vancouver, Canada. He is the Managing Editor of Yishu: Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art, the Adjunct Director of the Institute of Asian Art, Vancouver Art Gallery, a Research Fellow at Simon Fraser University, and a Trustee of Asia Art Archive in America. In the 1980s, he taught at China Academy of Art in Hangzhou as Professor and Department Chair. Since he immigrated to Canada in 1990, he has served as the Chairman of Chinese Canadian Artists Federation in Vancouver, the Secretary of Annie Wong Art Foundation, and co-founder of the Vancouver International Centre for Contemporary Asian Art (Centre A). As an independent curator, he has curated or co-curated numerous exhibitions including the 2004 Shanghai Biennale, Art and China’s Revolution(New York), and recently, Winds from Fusang: Mexico and China in 20th Century that toured to USC Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena and the Diego Rivera Mural Museum in Mexico City. He was the senior curator for Asia of Vancouver Biennale and won the Lifetime Achievement Award for his curatorial work.
Marisol Villela Balderrama is a Mexican art historian whose research focuses on public art and the artistic connections between China and Latin America during the Cold War. She holds a BA from the University of Navarra and a MA from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid and the Museo Nacional Reina Sofía. She obtained a Chinese Government Scholarship and lived in China from 2013 to 2017, where she received a MA from the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou. Her MA thesis research was a crucial contribution to the exhibition Winds from Fusang: Mexico and China in the Twentieth Century. Marisol is currently a Ph.D. student in the Department of History of Art and Architecture at the University of Pittsburgh. Her work examines Chilean artist José Venturelli’s mural and print production in China, Chile, and Cuba and the cultural bridges he helped build during the 1950s–70s across what was then known as the Third World.
This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.
Mexican Muralists in China: A Presentation by Zheng Shengtian and Marisol Villela Balderrama is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.