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Students spark with art being the verse for wear

POEMOGRAPHY is a new interactive program crossing over visual arts and literature. Students from Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong are discovering how it works. Nie Xin goes to class.

"People who wander on the busy boulevard

Looking back on the tranquil temple

which witnessed the war of the states

Standing still

Listening to the chimes of the bells

Looking up at the sleeky glass of the skyscrapers and

pondering the struggle of the species."

This lyric poem "Bells of the Temple" is an example of poemography - a new concept blending literature and visual arts.

It was written by the students at the Shanghai Minlin Middle School for the program "Art Talents Pop Up! Poemography Exp."

So what exactly is poemography? Students from Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong will find out for themselves during a six-month event launched by Swire Organisation for Youth Arts (SOYA).

Poemography is a new interactive program crossing over visual arts and literature. On the theme of "architecture," the program invited high school students from the three cities to create art from photography and poetry and encouraged the young people to observe, feel and express.

Workshops and a forum conducted by professional photographers, poets, scholars and artists have been organized to promote poemography and art appreciation.

"The Swire Organisation for Youth Arts strives to promote arts and culture among young people," says Miranda Szeto, SOYA's representative.

The first-of-its-kind program last year attracted nearly 50 schools and over 200 participants from Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong.

"This is encouraging as our initiatives and efforts are recognized," says Szeto. "We are also delighted to have received tremendous support from schools in Beijing and Shanghai, which endorses our aim in fostering youth arts and nurturing the students' talents in arts and literature. Students in the three cities can also widen their horizons through cross-city exchanges."

Poemography is a fusion of photography and poetry. "Art Talents Pop Up! Poemography Exp." had four workshops and one forum in May at which famous architects, photographers, poets and scholars shared their insights into the two fields with the students.

Famous Chinese architecture photographer Zhou Ruogu, the post-1980s writer and poet Xiao Shui (Huang Xiao), one of Hong Kong's best-known poets David McKirdy, Hong Kong artist and educator Lynn Yau, are all workshop tutors.

With the help of advanced technology, the three cities are connected through video conference to enable real-time exchanges between speakers and students. In a pleasant and relaxed environment, students are free to explore the potential of poemography.

After the workshops and forum, the students try their hand at poemography itself and submit their works to compete for prizes and a chance of a cultural exchange in the competing cities.

Students' works will be shown in exhibitions in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong, in October this year so that more people can appreciate the creativity of the younger generation.


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