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Lijiang Garden arts festival celebrates 25 yrs of cross-cultural exchange

GZFAO | Updated:2023-12-19

Jack, an American youth, effortlessly maneuvers the diabolo, shifting it from left to right with a graceful wave of his hands. Guided by elderly mentors, he excels in many diabolo skills and now aims to do"dragon dance" with the diabolo - using a three-meter-long ribbon to swirl a diabolo gracefully in the air.

On the afternoon of December 16th, such cross-cultural exchanges were abundant at the community arts festival in Lijiang Garden, Panyu District, Guangzhou.


Jack, from the United States, arrived in China a decade ago, harboring a deep appreciation for traditional Chinese culture and noodles. Earlier this year, he made Panyu's Lijiang Garden his home, taking on a teaching role at an art institution.

Taking morning strolls in the neighborhood, Jack observed elderly residents practicing the diabolo. Inspired, he sought guidance from Tang Zhongyuan, a diabolo master from Shaanxi. Jack aspires to merge his newfound skills with the Orff approach to music he teaches, offering children a taste of cultural fusion.


Lijiang Garden, where Jack resides, boasts a population of 45,000 with over 200 clubs of various sizes, making it one of Guangzhou's most culturally vibrant communities. According to data from the Foreigner Management Service Station on Luopu Street, over 200 foreigners from nearly 90 countries have made this community their long-term residence. They come from countries such as the United States, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, France,South Korea, Nigeria, and Mauritius.

To showcase its diverse cultures, the community has established various activity areas, which accommodate over 3,000 people daily for exercise and artistic pursuits. Taking a morning stroll in the community, you will not only appreciate traditional performances like Peking opera and Cantonese opera, but also join in fan dances with the elderly or even invite seniors for an impromptu "Winter Waltz."

Since 1997, the Lijiang Garden has hosted the community arts festival.

The 25th edition, opening on December 16th, featured over 500 residents showcasing talents in painting, calligraphy, dance, and music. Along the community's lake, more than 300 creative paintings by residents adorned the area. At the Jiang'an Cultural Square, traditional cultural delicacies like Chinese olives, sugar paintings, candied hawthorns, and dragon's beard candy captured the attention of both local and foreign children.


In the family portrait area, Gavin's family from Mauritius posed against a vibrant red Chinese backdrop. Children held red lanterns while adults clasped their hands in a congratulatory gesture, exclaiming, "Gong Xi Fa Cai (wish you enlarge your wealth)," creating a warm and familiar scene.

The arts festival highlighted traditional Chinese performances such as Peking opera, fan dances, and qipao fashion shows. Carlos from Colombia and his friends held a "concert" on the stage, recruiting Cantonese-speaking partners after singing "The Ocean." He aims to perform the iconic Cantonese song "Glorious Years" next year.
The borderless community arts festival will continue until the end of the year, featuring art exhibitions and other series of activities.

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