Save Chinese Shadow Art: Bring Class to Stanford
Save Chinese Shadow Art: Bring Class to Stanford
Why this petition matters
Sign this Petition to SAVE CHINESE SHADOW ART
Today, Chinese shadow art is a dying art, particularly in the United States, and we need your help to save it by SIGNING this PETITION to fund this student-led course. Chinese shadow art is a form of expressive storytelling acted out using colorful silhouette figures (called shadow puppets) made from paper or parchment. This tradition dates back to the Song Dynasty in the year 960. Through student-led workshops, we aim to preserve the tradition of shadow art/puppetry and help students learn about the underlying rich history and culture that is also close to our hearts. (Read more about the student-led team below).
What is Chinese Shadow Art?
Chinese shadow art is a form of theater acted out using colorful silhouette figures (called shadow puppets) made from paper or parchment. This is a medium for expressive storytelling in which shadow puppets are crafted by hand, then cast onto a screen using a light source. The puppeteer can make the figures perform a range of actions, from dancing to fighting to laughing— and performances are often accompanied by music and singing.
Chinese shadow art is a dying art form in the United States and we are trying to preserve this tradition that includes art, storytelling, and culture that is close to our own cultures. It is heartbreaking to know that oral history may be lost along with this disappearing art form as puppeteer artists dwindle and the practice is gradually replaced by machine-made shadow puppets. Competing against other forms of modern-day entertainment such as movies or online streaming services, shadow art no longer stands as a primary source of visual entertainment. The last remaining artists in this field may no longer be able to perform in the next 10 years as they retire, and Chinese shadow art faces extinction due to a lack of younger artists in this field.
We may not be professional shadow art artists, but we grew up with and connect with our families through this art form and have watched it evolve through the years. We call upon the student body to sign this petition to SAVE CHINESE SHADOW ART by signing this petition to secure funding to bring this student-led course to Stanford before this art form dies out. This art form has always been near and dear to our hearts as a way to connect with our families and culture, so signing this petition would mean the world to us.
In this course, you will gain a better understanding of the rich history of Chinese shadow art dating back to the Chinese Song dynasty and learn how to become a puppeteer! In student-led workshops, you will immerse yourself in the Chinese shadow art tradition by designing and crafting shadow puppets, plus perfecting your storytelling skills.
Who Are We?
My name is Linda, and I am a Stanford senior studying Economics & Creative Writing. As a Chinese-American, my parents often told me stories about the playful folk tradition of shadow art in their home village in Beijing. My mother would take me to attend exhibits with shadow art during summer trips to China, and I was fascinated by the beauty and skill involved in creating shadow puppets. I’ve even taken a workshop on Chinese shadow art and practiced designing & storytelling with different figurines. My goal is to design and host my first shadow art virtual show in the next few months! I’m excited to share a piece of my cultural heritage with my fellow Stanford classmates :)
My name is Crystal, and I am also a Stanford Economics major and Management Science & Engineering coterm. I lived in Singapore and Taiwan and growing up, my grandmother and I would watch outdoor live puppet art performances together on the roadsides of Danshui River in Taiwan and attend shadow art performances around Southeast Asia. This love for cultural storytelling as a way to bring stories to life sparked my passion for Chinese shadow art. Similar to many of you, whether you’re also an international student or if you live farther away from home, I’ve felt homesick at Stanford and needed a way to connect with my family and culture (especially during Lunar New Year), and I’ve done so through shadow art. I can’t wait to bring a piece of home onto campus and to share a new cultural experience for those who love storytelling, art, or Chinese and Taiwanese culture.
We Need Your Help
Sign this petition. We aim to include Chinese Shadow Art as a cross-listed course in Art Studio (ARTSTUDI), East Asian Studies (EASTASN), and Theatre and Performance Studies (TAPS) departments as a student-led course and, in the future, to bring in a professional Stanford professor to keep this art form alive both at Stanford, the United States and around the world throughout the years.