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Chinese number 5.

Showcase: Chinese art – One world One dream

Curriculum connections:

  • Visual arts
  • Social sciences
  • English
  • Languages: Chinese

Focus concepts:

  • Culture and heritage
  • Cultural images
  • Cultural art  

Effective pedagogy:

  • Facilitating shared learning
  • Encouraging reflective thought and action

Learning intentions

Students will:

  • following a brief, build an installation that reflects the values of the Olympic Games spirit.

Activity 1 – Building an installation


Within the spirit of Olympic Games ideals, your class has been asked to build an installation that could be an entrance way or display that shows the essence and universal values of the Olympic Games spirit – Unity, Friendship, Progress, Harmony, Participation and Dream. The timing of the installation would link well to the opening ceremony of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games with its slogan 'One world one dream'. You need to reflect appropriate Chinese conventions and traditions within visual art. Use the websites below and examine how some contemporary Chinese artists have worked. Discuss how their work reflects past and contemporary practice.Work towards a theme (for example, 'One world one dream') and, in groups or as a class, design how you could use a space provided in the school to design and display your installation. Students could select which language they wish to work with for this installation – or it could reflect many languages.

Some ideas of what you could include in your installation:

  • Your class scroll from your chops (made in lesson 4 – Linking language and art). These could be enlarged to another scale and medium (such as a wood cut) and put onto a larger scroll (wallpaper or lining paper could provide an option for a long scroll effect).
  • Chops and wood cuts reprinted multiple times to develop into a work and/or to form a pattern.
  • Calligraphy, words, and brush strokes could be added to the installation. For example, students could work with the poems developed in lesson 3 – Beijing – What will we see? and show these in a pictorial or visual way.
  • Work done in lessons 1–3 such as the findings of the mini-inquiry, and student writing from lesson 3 – Beijing – What will we see? enhanced with a map or some “Did you know …?” type questions and statements about China. Note: This would require linking with other teachers in most secondary schools, but would enable students to draw wider inferences from their learning across curricula areas.
  • Divide your class into two groups (or more) and have each group develop an installation – one for a Chinese representation, and one for New Zealand or a smaller cultural group represented in your class. Be aware that for both New Zealand and China there is more than one version of cultural expressions.


View some ‘installations’, for example, banners, scrolls, and chun lian (traditional Spring Festival couplets placed around a doorway).

Consider the work of these artists:

  • Xu Bing – Select 'Projects', then '1999', then 'Art for the people' for an example of the use of the Roman alphabet on a traditional banner.
  • Xue Song

Key questions

For reflection and discussion:

  • What have we achieved with this installation?
  • What feedback have we had?
  • How could we do it differently next time?

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