Impressions from an artist and a scholar

Hear Yan Song, director of UNC’s Program on Chinese Cities, speak on “Urbanization in China: Critical Issues in an Era of Rapid Growth” Sept 5 at 6 pm at the FedEx Global Education Center.

Song and artist Barbara Tyroler will discuss “Beijing Impressions: Portraits of a Shifting Landscape,” currently on display at the Center.  An art viewing and reception will follow.

China is one of the fastest urbanizing countries in the world in the first decade of the 21st century. Accompanied with a range of economic reforms since 1978, urbanization in China has increased at an astonishing rate. China’s level of urbanization (the ratio of nonagricultural population to the total population) rose from 18 percent in 1978 to 30 percent in 1995 and to 45 percent in 2010.

Yan Song

One can almost feel the pace of urbanization when wandering around a bustling Chinese city. New residential and business high-rise buildings, giant industrial parks, urban infrastructure projects, and urban renewal developments are taking place at an unprecedented pace and scale, drastically reshaping China’s urban landscape. Not surprisingly, this rapid urbanization process, along with ongoing social and economic transitions, has presented great challenges for Chinese urban planners and public policy makers. This talk by Song identifies and interprets a range of issues that have emerged in China’s urbanization process.

The Beijing Impressions series by artist Barbara Tyroler is a visual response to daughter Samm Tyroler-Cooper’s poetic interpretation of Chinese writer Lin Bai’s personal memoirs, particularly the excerpt “Illusion.” Presented in large, blended photographs, these figurative landscapes serve to reflect a people and city in cultural transformation, synthesizing the ancient with the contemporary, the literal with the metaphoric.

This lecture and art exhibition are hosted by UNC Global.