International field award winners, left to right: Anna Ivanova, Joseph Zbukvic,
Alexander Kryushyn, Ross Paterson, Dean Mitchell, Andrew Kish (not shown: Charles Reid)
I returned to Shanghai yet again in late November to join fellow judges, award winners, and guests for the 2012 Shanghai Zhujiajiao International Watercolour Biennial opening ceremonies. Besides the excitement of the event and seeing so many incredible watercolors on display, I got a chance to meet up with many friends, colleagues, and a few artists I have admired but not met until now: Anna Ivanova, Andrew Kish, Alexander Kryushyn, Dean Mitchell, Ross Paterson, Joseph Zbukvic, and of course Jo Jo and Xidan Chen, Janine Gallizia, Tony Hunt, Ong Kim Seng, Liu Yi, and too many others to name. Most all of the big names in watercolor are represented in the show, it's quite impressive.
We were all treated with a level of hospitality and respect that has become a hallmark of this exhibition. Paid flights, five-star hotel, lavish meals, and tours. There was a fantastic day in the city, another lunch in the revolving restaurant forty floors above Shanghai, Yu Gardens, and a night on the Bund. The opening ceremonies took place outside the Zhujiajiao Cultural Center where about half of the show is hung. The other half is at the Quanhua Watercolour Gallery. Buses shuttled visitors back and forth, though I unfortunately didn't have time to make it over to the gallery.
Congratulations to the sixteen award winners - eight from the international field (six pictured above) and eight from the Chinese field (see photo below). There is a fantastic catalog available from the Biennial website:
Shey-shey to the organizers for giving me the privilege to judge this unprecedented exhibition once again. Joseph Zbukvic said it perfectly in his speech on behalf of the artists when he spoke about the famous bridge of Zhujiajiao as a metaphor, illustrating the connection between East and West via the art of watercolor. We all hope to build on that, and bring the medium to new heights of awareness and critical acceptance.