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The world is mostly an unknown place for children, full of dangers and strange things. They struggle to survive and adjust to unfamiliar environments from the moment they are born. They are physically weaker than adults and so it is natural for them to feel frightened and embarrassed at times when they don’t have help from trustworthy guardians, like their parents. They are all similar to Hansel and Gretel, wandering around in the mysterious forest of the world.

However, in this unknown world there are also so many curious and interesting things. There are many intriguing nooks and crannies, a bunch of untold stories and unsung songs waiting to be explored. Perhaps curiosity and imagination can support and nurture them as they grow.

Actually, adults are no different from children. We, as grown-ups, don’t exactly know how the world is going to change in the future. Due to exponentially fast-growing new technology, the future is beyond our imagination. We cannot imagine how it will change our arts. In that sense we are all children. Probably what makes humans more human is the way we constantly explore, finding new things in the unknown dark forest of world.

In these days we, the members and friends of ASSITEJ, are traveling to a rather unknown world – Beijing for the Artistic Gathering. In two years time, to Tokyo for the Congress!

Some say the word ‘unknown’ is false, because Beijing and Tokyo are both large, old and world renowned Asian cities. That may be true, but these cities are still remote to those on the outside. Even to some Asians these cities can be new and unfamiliar, because Asia is so large and diverse that it is really hard to fully know it all. Living in a neighboring country and having learnt Chinese characters, and even being raised under the tradition of Confucius, I have always felt that China has much to be explored. It is like a huge, hidden reservoir. Much more so for TYA artists, I think. Asia and China are not well-known places to TYA artists and therefore this Artistic Gathering in Beijing will be a great chance to encounter a rather unknown repository of imagination.

I know that just a one-week gathering is far from enough, but let’s regard it as the first step and a gateway to our long journey to awesome discoveries and new connections. Let’s start to dream freely of the unknown future! Who knows, the future may become what we imagine.

Welcome to Asia, welcome to Beijing!


Yvette Hardie and the audience at the Opening ceremony of 2018 ASSITEJ Artistic Gathering in Beijing, China

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