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One Dream, True Friendship Calligraphy Demo By Hong Zhao

USA & Chinese Flags Waving in Atlantic Ocean

Celebrates the 10th Global Anniversary of Confucius Institutes 

Located 25 miles off the coast of Wilmington, NC sits a 48-year-old former U.S. Coast Guard station rising like a sentinel more than 60 feet above the water.  This looming tower was built in 1966 and was deactivated in 2003.  The Frying Pan Shoals Light Tower is a decommissioned lighthouse 40 km southeast of Oak Island, NC.   The 80-foot (24 m) light tower marks the shoals at the confluence of the Cape Fear River and the Atlantic Ocean. 

On August 19, at exactly 12:00 PM EDT, America’s red, white, and blue Stars and Stripes, and China’s red and yellow Five-Star flags rose simultaneously on Frying Pan Tower to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of Confucius Institute.  On banners below these flags, a huge work of calligraphy and another banner in red, relay a message of collaboration and hope.  They read: “The Same Dream, A True Friendship” (”海天同梦,云汉共情“Hai tian tong meng, yun han gong qing, done by Chinese distinguished calligrapher, Capital Normal University), and commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the Confucius Institute Headquarters/Hanban. (Hanban means headquarters in Chinese.)

Full of symbolism, this touching gesture was designed and organized by Professor Weihong Yan, Director of Confucius Institute at Pfeiffer University, in Charlotte, NC.  Yan states, “My incentive to raise both the U.S. and Chinese flags together in International Waters was to promote and bring attention to the beautiful art of Chinese Calligraphy as a gift to acknowledge Hanban’s 10th Anniversary and the ensuing 10 years of global success.” 

Dr. Hong Zhao, a noted Professor; along with Mr. Richard Neal, the owner of Frying Pan Tower; teachers and students from Confucius Institute at Pfeiffer University, all contributed to the success of this special event.  Zhao played a crucial part by creating the very large calligraphy characters on the spot, in spite of whipping winds above the sea, and totally supports the popularization of Chinese calligraphy overseas.

The photographer on site was Mr. Arton Cress, who shot both photos and videos to showcase this extravagant display of unity. This video will be used for teaching purposes, exhibitions, and during the upcoming “Art to Poetry to Music” production created by Confucius Institute and Opera Carolina, that will be held on September 13th in Knight Theater in Charlotte. 

The Frying Pan Shoals platform was a wonderful venue to showcase “The Same Dream, A True Friendship” program.  By placing Chinese calligraphy within the expansive background of the true sky/sea harmony, with the two country’s flags, the U.S. and China, serves to highlight the value and significance of cross-cultural expressions.  

During this 10th Anniversary celebration, Confucius Institute and Hanban wish for our modern cultural “Silk Road” to expand by embracing the "Chinese dream,” in sharing the brilliance of both cultures.

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