Art Beyond Borders: African Artwork Shines on China’s Space Station Debut Exhibition

The Shenzhou-16 crew wave their hands as they extend greetings to the award-winners of the painting competition, which involved around 2,000 African young artists. Source: Fan Anqi/ Global Times

In a momentous event reported by Global Times, ten paintings representing the vibrant dreams of African youth made their debut at the inaugural art exhibition on the China Space Station. Speaking from the Space Station, Commander Jing Haipeng of Shenzhou-16 expressed a vision of the boundless potential for China-Africa space cooperation inspired by these young artists’ aspirations.

This remarkable debut occurred during an awards ceremony for a painting competition held in Beijing. The competition, a collaborative effort by the China Manned Space Agency and the Secretariat of the Chinese Follow-up Committee of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), attracted over 2,000 submissions from 42 African countries. Among them, ten first-prize paintings were chosen to accompany the Shenzhou-16 crew to the China Space Station on 30 May 2023.

At the ceremony, Director-General Wu Peng of the Department of African Affairs of the Chinese Foreign Ministry emphasised the significance of this art exhibition. He underscored that it exemplified China’s enduring commitment to sharing development opportunities with Africa. This partnership between China and Africa has always been dedicated to the shared pursuit of prosperity, development, and peace. Wu further highlighted developing nations’ unstoppable rise and youth’s pivotal role in the China-Africa cooperation journey.

The paintings were displayed within the space station cabin, each with detailed introductions that included the artist’s name, country of origin, and the significance and hopeful aspirations embedded within the artwork. Gui Haichao, the first civilian astronaut to venture into space, could not contain his joy as he immersed himself in the vivid colours of the paintings. 

Peter Prosper Oshoname, a 20-year-old artist from Nigeria who won the first prize, shared his inspiration for his painting. He incorporated numerous circles and African patterns into his work, featuring an African woman to symbolise unity among family and friends. His artwork underscored that space is accessible to all, irrespective of gender or ethnicity. It emphasised the importance of partnerships between Africa, China, and the world in achieving collective dreams.

The painting “Shared Aspirations by Peter Prosper Oshoname” from Nigeria was taken to the China Space Station and debuted on September 14, 2023. Source: The Chinese Embassy in Nigeria

In May, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning emphasised the significance of this art exhibition. The vibrant paintings from African youth encapsulated best wishes for China-Africa cooperation, peace, development, human progress, and a brighter future. This exchange of culture and people-to-people bonds between China and Africa exemplifies the enduring friendship. China is dedicated to providing a platform for African youth to showcase their vitality and dreams while renewing the China-Africa cooperation.


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