Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once said that “The mediator of the inexpressible is the work of art.” It is only reasonable for nation states all around the globe to use art to engage in cultural diplomacy and promote intercultural understanding and long-term relationships.
The overwhelming potential of art as a means to build relationships lies in the medium itself. It is an innate way to express ideas in an universally-spoken language that enables every country to build a bridge to another country and exchange ideas.
China provides a recent example of how a country can take advantage of art in the context of cultural diplomacy. On March 25, METROPOLIS NOW! -- an exhibition by the Meridian International Center, in partnership with the National Art Museum of China (NAMOC) in Beijing, and the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China -- will open in Washington, DC.
"METROPOLIS NOW! is a compelling selection of 52 paintings, sculptures, mixed media, and video installations by 31 artists. Their works address the enormous changes taking place in China’s cities – specifically, the major art centers of Beijing and Shanghai. Visitors to the exhibition will experience the implications of urbanization and globalization as seen through the eyes of these extraordinary artists." (Meridian International Center)
For the Chinese artists this exhibition is a tremendous opportunity to shape the image of the country as cultural diplomats and underscore the urban and modern facets of their country. At the same time the exhibition offers US citizens to experience first-hand Chinese culture.