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Scholastic Shrine, Lexington

As culturally reflective as they are visually stunning, these large, audience-interactive 3D installations by Tianlan Deng (aka Tillian) invite both contemplation and action. Built on a scale ranging from large to massive (including a maze you can walk through), they work together to create a dialog that addresses not only the problematic relationships between China’s national culture, education, and collective identity, but also the rote learning practices that are prevalent across the globe.

The younger generations of Chinese people are patriotically proud of China’s ancient history, despite having limited knowledge of its cultural traditions. The artist presents this paradox to be symptomatic of contemporary China’s educational system... provoking the question about parallel situations in other countries.

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