Festival Video: 2014 Smithsonian Folklife Festival

Welcome to the forty-eighth annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival. This year we celebrate the cultures of Kenya and China. With over 120 participants from each country, this Festival is brought to life by thousands of staff, interns, and volunteers. I encourage you to join us either on the National Mall or online and explore all that these wonderful artists have brought to us. It’s my great pleasure to welcome you for the next two weeks of exploration, exchange, and engagement.

Videography and Editing: Albert Tong
Narration: Sabrina Lynn Motley

  • Jane Zhang

    For people who don’t know the history and the background, these two sentences themselves “study hard and make progress daily” immediately remind me the culture revolution and Dictator Mao`s ruling because we were forced to be surrounded
    by these slogans, especially this one since it is always targeting on young people. The culture revolution is a nightmare to the most Chinese. We left our homeland and escaped from the Communism to America, I am so shocked to see the Communist dictator`slogan stands on the National Mall in this free country. No surprises for what Chinese regime have done in here, but fell so shame on Smithsonian to spend taxpayer’s money like this way!!!

    • http://folklife.si.edu/ Smithsonian Folklife

      The flower plaque installation on the National Mall was commissioned by the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage and designed by well-known contemporary artist Danny Yung, who is combines contemporary and traditional art forms. The artwork was supported in part by the West Kowloon Cultural District, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

      All of the greetings on the panels have to do with the character tian, and the largest of these, roughly translated by the artist as “every day progress, diligent learning,” is one of sixteen phrases that are on the plaque. For Yung, the phrase recalls a particular point in his life and he has since creatively appropriated this phrase.

      We hope that you read Danny’s artist statement to learn more about the work and the reason for including the phrase: http://www.festival.si.edu/2014/china/tian_tian_xiang_shang.aspx.
      We also have a video featuring Yung: http://www.festival.si.edu/2014/the-story-of-the-bamboo-flower-plaque/

      The Smithsonian hopes that the presentations at the Festival, including on the flower plaque, will foster respectful dialogue between visitors and the program participants.