November 06, 2008

#01-180: African Artists Portray Shenzhen

wide view of an urban area with bushes in the foreground, over which is written "READING BOOMTOWN CHRONICLES"
Shenzhen, the Boomtown

Note: Between Lesson #01-128 and #01-207, I wrote 72 lessons explaining expressions in articles published in the Shenzhen Daily. Read more about "Reading Boomtown Chronicles."

Get Ready: Have you ever given an exhibition of anything? Have you ever been to an exhibition?

African Artists Portray Shenzhen - published Thursday, October 30, 2008

This is another article from Shenzhen's weeklong series, "African Cultures in Focus 2008," which we turned to because we ran out of "Boomtown Chronicles" articles for a while. It describes an exhibition of works depicting Shenzhen by five resident African artists.

  • This was a "joint exhibition."

joint: made up of several artists' works exhibited together. The adjective is clearly derived from the verb "to join." The opposite of a "joint exhibition," by the way, would be a "solo exhibition.

exhibit: a show (noun); to show (verb). The noun form may also be, as here, "exhibition." Ex- here means "out," and -hibit comes from the Latin word habere meaning "to have." So to "exhibit" means "to have (something) out"--in other words, to show it.

One of Shenzhen's Metro is named Hui Zhan Zhong Xin, or "Exposition Center." What's the difference between an "exhibition" and an "exposition"? Basically, an exposition is just a big exhibition. "Exposition" derives from "expose," also meaning "to show." (-pose here means "to place," so to "expose" is to "place out.") By the way, "Exposition" is sometimes reduced to the easier-to-say "Expo."

  • One of the artists in the exhibition, Edward Mwaura Ndekere, said, "The exposure to Chinese art and culture will have a profound impact on my work, especially in the use of 'economy,' the principle that less is more and more is less."

economy: thrifty management; frugality. Most of us think of it as having to do with the system of finance. But Mr. Ndekere's use is right on the money. He is talking about the sort of minimalist influence in traditional Chinese art, where a single brush stroke might indicate a cloud, or a man. As he explains it, it is where "less is more," and adding too much detail detracts from the whole. This is a sophisticated and perhaps unfamiliar use of "economy."


Read more:

Practice: Choose the correct term to fill in the blank in the sentence below:

  1. economy
  2. exhibit
  3. exposition
  4. joint
  5. solo exhibition

  1. To make things simpler, the wife and husband decided to get a ________ bank account.
  2. We enjoyed the ________ of the children's art at the school.
  3. We attended a massive ________ of every mobile phone available on the market for the past 20 years.
  4. A good poem expresses an idea with________, using as few words as possible.
  5. Margaret's one-woman show was the first ________ in the new gallery.

Answers are in the first comment below.

Submitted to the Shenzhen Daily for November 6, 2008

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