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Do You Hutong? – an evening of art, music and cultural heritage

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“Do You Hutong?” The answer from Beijingers was an affirmative “yes!” as more than 200 people travelled to Three Shadows Photography Art Centre, Caochangdi, on Saturday 17 July to support CHP’s major fundraising event of the year. There was a distinct buzz as people arrived to experience this uniquely creative event, and many of the attendees stayed for several hours to enjoy the diverse components of the evening.

Three Shadows, with its intrinsically Ai Weiwei-designed indoor and outdoor spaces, was a perfect venue to showcase the models and promote cultural heritage preservation in China. The 20 unique courtyard gate models were displayed in one of the main exhibition rooms. The model artworks were created by local and foreign Beijing artists, including Guo Jian, Lucy Young (Paper Tiger), Michel Sutyadi (NLGX Design), and Dominic Johnson-Hill (Plastered T-Shirts). The diverse range of materials, textures and final products highlighted the different views people have about hutongs and the complexities of cultural heritage. Themes included demolition, the beauty of hutongs, media in China and traditional architecture.

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The silent auction started out slowly as people viewed and enjoyed the artworks and multi-media instalments, but it soon became a tactical game with people – glass of wine or beer in hand – tried to outbid each other for their favourite model. Overall 10,000RMB was raised from the auction! Though not a silent auction item, the edible courtyard gate cake created by Lin Zhong, owner of The Fig Tree, was another ‘crowd favourite’. The raffle, with items donated by Courtyard 7, Beijing Color Studio, The Bookworm, Sit Coffee, The Schoolhouse Mutianyu and NLGX Design, was also popular and several lucky people left the event with prizes in hand. Do You Hutong? was the launch of CHP’s Heritage Membership programme, and paying guests left with a one-year CHP membership.

While the event was a fundraiser to help CHP launch its Cultural Action Network, it also aimed to encourage public participation in China’s cultural heritage dialogue. Comments about Old Beijing that were submitted to the Do You Hutong? micro site were displayed as a multi-media instalment, and several paintings by young artists were exhibited as part of a collaboration with the Beijing Color Studio.

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Beijing’s notoriously unpredictable weather provided a balmy but pleasant evening for event goers to also enjoy the outside area, which was lit by hundreds of tealight candles. Live music by Beijing band Girls Are Waiting to Meet You (GAWTMY) and DJ Little Five entertained the relaxed crowd. All of the evening’s entertainers donated their time in support of CHP. There was a small interlude as CHP founder He Shuzhong and CHP director Jim Stent talked about CHP’s work and the importance of cultural heritage preservation in Beijing and beyond.  China Radio International’s Nigel Ballard was the master of ceremonies for the evening.

CHP thanks everyone who attended for their support and contribution to the success of this first-time event. A special thank you to all the volunteers who helped to make the event a reality! The event was important to CHP as it emphasised the growing awareness of cultural heritage in China. CHP believes events like Do You Hutong? are changing the attitude of people all around China. Stay tuned for Do You Hutong? next summer!

The Do You Hutong? courtyard gates will be on display at Three Shadows until 1 August.

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Thank you

Sponsor: Three Shadows Art Photography Centre

Media sponsors: the BeijingerChina Visual, 精品购物指南 (Lifestyle), www.petercarney.net

Partners: Beijing Color Studio, Courtyard 7, NLGX Design, Quintessentially, Sculpting in Time Cafe, Studio-X Beijing, The Fig Tree, The Schoolhouse Mutianyu

Artists: Gao Meng & Li Jinling, Lucy Young, Zara Arshad, Currie Lee, Nic Shepherd, Michel Sutyadi, Maria Paticchio, Guo Jian, Zhang Jiang Lian, Arbo, 吴以强, Dominic Johnson-Hill, 虞丹青, Ye Yang, Marian Gajdos, Karen Patterson & Nina Griffee, 薛文佳, Marcella Campa & Stefano Avesani, Wu Qiuyuan, Lin Bo

Membership organisations:  Courtyard 7, NLGX Design, Sculpting in Time Cafe, The Hutong, The World Of Chinese, Wutengzhai Restaurant, Zha Zha Café

Raffle donors: Beijing Color Studio, Courtyard 7, NLGX Design, Sculpting in Time Cafe, The Bookworm, The Schoolhouse Mutianyu

MC: Nigel Ballard, China Radio International

Volunteers: Sam Christie, Michelle Choi, Suvi Rautio, Gao Meng, Jin Ling, Eric Liu, Alan Li, Meiyan Ge, Danny Li, Eileen Wong, Emily Chen, Benjamin Moore, Guoran, Liufeng , Tian Yunxiang, Xue Zijun, Ye Shikeng, David Thomson, Tyler Cotton, Michele Scrimenti

Multi-media instalments: Jonah Kessel, Zara Arshad

Music: Girls Are Waiting to Meet You, DJ Little Five (David Thomson)

Thank you to Zara Arshad for use of her photos in this article.

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