Chinese Art, Culture Combine In New Artisan Forge Exhibit
Xin Obaid of MingXin Cultural Tea Exchange curates art show
author & photographer by Rebecca Mennecke |
Xin Obaid opened her tea room at Artisan Forge Studios in March of last year. Not long after, the studio was forced to close its doors as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Like a lotus flower (one of the most important flowers in Chinese culture), Obaid blossomed during a challenging past year to launch a Chinese Folk Art Exhibit at Artisan Forge Studios (1106 Mondovi Road, Eau Claire), which is open to the public through April 3.
Eau Claire is a diverse city. I mean, different cultures, different people together. Then I said, I should (show) more different kinds of cultures.
Mingxin Cultural tea exchange
“Eau Claire is a diverse city,” Obaid said. “I mean, different cultures, different people together. Then I said, I should (show) more different kinds of cultures.”
Obaid, who immigrated from Hunan, China, to Eau Claire more than a decade ago, shares her culture and love of tea through her tea store, MingXin Cultural Tea Exchange, which sells tea (originating from Hubei, China) and authentic tea pots, tea sets, cups, and tea ware.
The new exhibit, presented in collaboration with Shanxi Xingrong Import and Export Co., Ltd. and Shanxi Yulei Cultural Media Company, features artwork from nine artists in Shanxi, only a few provinces away from Obaid’s hometown. Shanxi is extremely important to Chinese history and culture, as – according to Obaid – the Chinese language and characters were developed in Shanxi, and modern archaeology indicates Shanxi holds history from thousands of years of civilization, making it a historic marvel.
“It’s very ancient,” said Christy Skuban of Artisan Forge Studios. “A lot of Chinese art originated from Shanxi.”
North of Shanxi is the Yellow River, one of the largest rivers in the world, which enabled early civilization, which then fostered much of Chinese culture and art, including silk, Chinese characters, paper cut art, and more. The exhibit at Artisan Forge features historic arts, such as Chinese calligraphy, ink art, handmade silk, polished lacquerware, pottery, and – of course – tea.
“Everything is original,” Skuban said. “I mean, hand embroidery, all the prints and the art. It’s all original.”
Obaid received the art pieces from a friend in Shanxi, who shipped the numerous pieces appearing in the exhibit to Eau Claire (which, as you guessed, cost quite a bit). Obaid joked to her husband, “The whole China is here.”
On Saturday, March 27, Artisan Forge Studios will host a small fashion show, with artists modeling the handmade scarves from 10:30-11:30 and then 1:30-2:30. Attendees are welcome to join Obaid for tea. The exhibit will be open through April 3.
“I love art,” Obaid said. “I can bring Chinese art here.”
For more information about Artisan Forge Studios and its upcoming events, visit artisanforgestudios.com.