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Beijing Bookworm talk:
This year’s Irish project ‘Odyssey the Return ‘ explores James Joyces book Ulysses and the ancient epic poem The Odyssey. On April 15th the famed Beijing Bookworm hosted our talk ‘What has James Joyce ever done for you?’ Our Monty Pythonesque title became slightly distorted with time as people started to refer to it as ‘What as James Joyce ever done to you?’
Along with Prof Fu Hao , all five artists QingQing , Li Xinmo , Gulistan, Fion Gunn and myself spoke at the event . Prof Fu Hao speciality is in translating many of the Irish poets , he has translated all of Joyce’s verse into Chinese and we therefore claimed him as our Joycean academic. Because of his detailed work on by WB Yeats poetry he was given the task of translating Joyces’ poetry . This is interesting as Joyce and Yeats did know each other well when Joyce lived in Dublin. Joyce a polymath would often go to readings Yeats would give on a new Yeats poem and Joyce would be able to recite it perfectly the next morning.
Artists QingQing and Li Xinmo at the Bookworm presentation
We spoke about the influences of Joyce on making the work and where that research has lead in terms of the final exhibition.
It was also delightful to discover and chat with some Joyceans in Beijing, who would have thought! Wonderful to meet Mario, a writer who has made a pilgrimage of sorts to Joyce’s grave in Zurich…twice, also to Matt D and others from the Irish community . A huge thank you to David Cantalupo of the Bookworm for his warm introduction and facilitating such an enjoyable night to all the staff at the Bookworm and of course to Peter Goff for supporting our talk.
David Cantalupo of Beijing Bookworm manages the Q&A for the event
Beijing Foreign Studies University talk:
Beijing Foreign Studies University Library – spot the Irish word for Library – Leabharlann
Reading a passage in Ulysses where Bloom fills a kettle
Artists Gulistan, Fion Gunn and myself gave a presentation to Beijing Foreign Studies University- The Irish Studies Centre where there were a number of postgrads studying Irish Literature.
Fion Gunn starts the tour for BFSU students at Dong Yue Art Museum.
A big thank you to Prof Chen Li for arranging this event and also arranging the bus from campus to bring the students to Dong Yue Art Museum where the exhibition was installed. The students had some very interesting comments relating aspects of the exhibition to Joyce.
Tuesday Trotters visit:
The Tuesday morning visit was great fun exploring and recalling the ancient Greek myths from Fion Gunns work such as ‘Eurydice and the city of the Dead’ and ‘Hecabe and her Women’ referring to the Odyssey to which Ulysses has a parallel structure. (see video link )
Eleanor Liu is the group elder and will celebrating her 100th birthday two days before Bloomsday next month. A big thank also to Kosima Weber Liu for the wonderful video of their visit that morning. Thank you also to Njuta and Laura for enriching the conversation and enquiry and also to Li Rong for joining us that morning.
Showing my great grandfather’s specs with case showing the shop Yeates and Son mentioned as being on the corner of Nassau street in the Lestrygonians chapter .
What can I say …the parallels are endless, Kosima in front of Qingqings work !
VIP event and conversation on Joyce at the Irish Embassy :
Our academic curator Huang Du was present for our VIP closing event at Dong Yue Art Museum on Saturday the 20th, he had just landed back in China from Cuba the previous day. Concluding the guided tour Huang Du gave a talk on the exhibition and the artworks. Many thanks to David Cantalupo for gracefully jumping in as translator for this event. Later we were treated to a delicious meal courtesy of Mr Yuan Qiulai of Dong Yue Art Museum.
A big thank you to the Irish Embassy and especially to Ambassador Eoin O’ Leary who hosted an evening for our VIPs on the last night of the exhibition.
The Ambassador shared with us some of his essay on Joyce and revealed some interesting things about his upbringing and how this reflected in different parts of Joyce’s works. We touched on various styles of language but the evening was too short.
Curator Huang Du with artists Li Xinmo, Niamh Cunningham, Gulistan, Fion Gunn, (unfortunately artist Qingqing was unable to attend)
Thank you also to all the people from Irish Network China, Beijing Womens Network , UCCA and CAFA who attended our events and guided tours.
I would like to thank the cultural attache at the Irish Embassy Jack Mc Cormack. Also I wish l to thank the Embassy of Ireland in China and supporting organisations who have made this project possible including: the Asia Pacific Fund, Culture Ireland and Dublin City Council.
Thank you to all who sent photos for this project including Eric Favreliere, Rolandvan der Emden, Sean Cunningham Kosima Weber Liu and others
Next post will take a look at the artworks