Terry Martin
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China, March to April, 2014

Harmony Between Man and Nature

In March, 2014, Terry directed a collaborative sculpture project hosted by the International Wood Culture Society and Rongsheng Art Village in the city of Dongxiang in China. Ten Chinese and ten international sculptors created a collaborative installation over a period of 14 days. It was an intense experience: sometimes stressful, often exhausting, but always exhilarating and rewarding. New friendships were forged and much was learned.

A video of the experience can be viewed here:

Watch Video:

Watch Video
Develop in Harmony

 

The team of collaborators worked in the vast Rongsheng Art Village workshop.
The team of collaborators worked in the vast Rongsheng Art Village workshop.
We were surrounded by mountains of precious wood and armies of carved Buddhas.

 

Lyonel Grant
Lyonel Grant, the respected Maori carver from New Zealand,
works with the kind of intensity that everyone brought to the project.

 

The Chinese team designed and built a traditional gateway out of 10,000-year-old wood that had been dug from the soil in Hainan Island in the south of China. Preserved by minerals in the earth, it is still workable and highly treasured.

 

The Chinese worked late into the night hewing and assembling a gate 5 metres high 
The Chinese worked late into the night hewing and assembling a gate 5 metres high,
weighing 2700 KG. It was left partly raw as a homage to the work of nature.

 

The internationals designed and built an archway out of Camphor wood. It was assembled from individually shaped blocks of wood that were linked by dovetailed keys and steel rods running through.

 

Assembling sections of archway. 
Assembling sections of archway. It weighed 3,500 KG and was 5 metres wide.

 

Assembling the heavy blocks was painstaking and awkward, but the workers at Rongsheng Art Village were amazingly helpful. Nothing was too hard for them.

 

The arch takes shape. 
The arch takes shape.

 

When the arch and gateway were complete, the two teams exchanged sculptures. They were then able to alter each otherís work in any way they wanted without getting permission from the team that first made it.

The internationals designed a set of panels to hang inside the gateway, each to be made by the individual sculptors, but fitting within an overall design of a vine that linked all the pieces.  

 

The team discusses the panels.
The team discusses the panels, also carved out of 10,000-year-old wood.

 

Long and intense discussions.
The Chinese had long and intense discussions about what to do with the archway.

 

Working on transforming the gateway.
Again, late into the night, the Internationals worked on transforming the gateway.

 

Xiao Ma
Among the local workers who helped us, Xiao Ma (Little Horse) worked tirelessly.
We have never met a happier and more energetic worker.

 

The favourite among all the internationals was Johana Liteka, a 68-year-old traditional sculptor from Tanazania. He only speaks Swahili, but with huge good will and courage he managed to communicate with us all. He is one of the finest men I have ever met.

 

Johana carving the lintel of the gate
Johana carving the lintel of the gate.

 

The team of sculptors at Rongsheng Art Village
The team of sculptors at Rongsheng Art Village (some Chinese missing).
L-R: Lyonel Grant (NZ); Mao Guanfu (China); Gan Jianjun (China); Ma Xinhua (China); Wang Guoha (China);
Xiang Songyun (China); Luo Juping (China; John van der Kolk (Australia); Zina Burloiu (Romania);
Cillian O Suilleabhain (Ireland); Louise Hibbert (England); Terry Martin (Australia); Feng Wentu (China);
Emanuel Vuchi (Cameroun); Adam Doran (Ireland); Wang Haibo (China); Demetz Lorenz (Italy);
Jacques Vesery (USA), Johana Liteka (Tanzania).

 

Drinking to the success of the project.
The Chinese love formal toasting with strong liquor and it sometimes seemed that my main task
was to drink to the success of the project.
Master Gao Gonbo, a good friend, insisted on toasting me at every opportunity. Itís a hard life....

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