Connection Shanghai 2007
The series “Connection Shanghai” concludes with a fitting scene of the Bund on a background of towering skyscrapers all painted upon a giant map of China titled, ‘No More Concessions’, drawing to a close sixty days of painting frenzy.
Stretching back to tickle memories of trips through China decades ago, I have now reconciled with myself and the country that there has been and always will be far too much more to record or express about this gigantic land. Kidding myself that I could resurrect old art created when life was far simpler and bring it into a contemporary drama only gave me a jumping-off point as I launched into a bottomless pool of culture and inspiration.
China and I changed since the 1980’s and we are no longer quaint. We have attitude and command respect for our accomplishments. Hard work and sacrifice define these changes and growth and with it comes the confidence that sets the trajectory for new dreams and destinations that were launched years ago and now proceed towards the heavens. Connecting the dots of past, present and future into art for today has been my command.
Having achieved some element of satisfaction, it is now time to let all go and move forward. Like the student upon graduation, the clearing after the typhoon, the country around which I have circulated for twenty years and I now head boldly into the future with some sense of completion. With this comes poise and hopefully a level of grace that will empower us to raise water levels so that all boats can drift free of the entangling reeds of ignorance and discontent. We must all paddle on.
Connecting Random Thots:
I see the old man with the bags searching garbage cans for plastic bottles and I realize that I am just the same as he – collecting sketches and experiences to later use and fuel my life. Not so different really.
Angie and I photograph and sketch our way back to where and when eunuchs and concubines entertained important men who gave thumbs up or down to the lives of many people.
I realize that the Great Wall psychologically and physically kept out invaders until a human being opened the gates and let them in. so in the end the wall kept nobody out forever because no matter what men make – others will compromise it out of greed.
Our date with Shanghai grows to a close for now. Having mounted this major show with extended legs of potential – I settle back into seat 37G bound for Singapore. Weary but content it is time to
revisit a healthy lifestyle and breathe fresh air. I am grateful for this chance to return and to complete the circle. Half a century on this planet and over two decades in Asia, I feel blessed that I have been privileged enough to see so much. My palette brims with layers and shades of the rainbow, beaming with life and the excitement of exploration.
On canvas I funnel the hues this life has granted me and spreading wings trust that I will be able to continue on this great adventure.
Text by Gregory Burns, Photographs by Angie Tan Burns, All Rights Reserved.