Reflections from Dr Pick Keobandith

Founder and International Director Inspiring Culture

Two years have past since we first dreamed about Edinburgh, one of the most beautiful cities in the Europe, built upon volcanic hills, to host the exhibition ‘Dialogue with Emperor Qin-China-EU’.

This Athens of the North, has one of the most prestigious universities in the world, and is twinned with the Chinese city Xi’an, home of the original Terracotta Warriors.  This year Xi’an will celebrate its 30th anniversary as a UNESCO world heritage site, an honour shared by the Scottish capital which received a listing in 1995.

We are proud to present this ambitious and philanthropic exhibition. It aims at generating exchanges and conversations around the theme of international cultural dialogue. After our successful exhibition in London, Edinburgh is an obvious choice to keep on promoting these universal ideas in the UK.

First shown towards the end of 2011, and featuring sculptures from three Chinese artists and 28 EU (one from each European country) the exhibition presents 31 artists who actively entered into a dialogue with Emperor Qin and his terracotta army.

The army that accompanies the Emperor in his everlasting sleep has come to life again!

Made by renowned European and Chinese artists, the 31 soldiers compose a peace corps of works, each almost two metres high.  It is a contemporary vision of an army that neither threatens nor looks to conquer. It erases frontiers and cherishes freedom.  It embraces the universal theme of ‘Messengers of Peace and Generosity’.

With this exhibition, we aim to show many cultures but one humanity.

After touring in eight Chinese museums between 2011 and early 2013, and having been labelled by the EU as an official event of their EU-China Intercultural Dialogue, the exhibition entered its second phase, travelling to Tallinn, Tsinandali (Georgia), Lisbon, Bucharest, Sofia, London and now Edinburgh.

This exhibition is made possible thanks to the Confucius Institute for Scotland and the University of Edinburgh, who are generously sponsoring its tour to Edinburgh. The exhibition is hosted at  Summerhall, the biggest private mixed-use arts centre in Europe, and Edinburgh Zoo, famous for its international conservation work and home to the only giant pandas in the UK: Tian Tian and Yang Guang.

We are thankful and happy to have them associated with this project. I would also like to thank the Chinese Mission to EU who continuously encourage us.

We are extremely grateful to H.E. Mrs Yang Yanyi for her support. We remember the very kind letter she wrote to us at the occasion of the Year of the Goat.

Last but not least, our gratitude also goes to Atlas and the China Arts Festival in the EU who shared with us their positive energies.