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Ceramic connections

Updated: 2023-11-04 09:23 ( China Daily )
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Hopeful Harvest, created by Ugandan artist Ocen Robert.CHINA DAILY

Ugandan student's study and adaptation of traditional Chinese craft helps build bridges through art, Cai Hong reports.

With its balanced, rounded pot and cups, the tea set seems like Chinese ceramic at first glance. But closer inspection of its motif reveals an ancient Ugandan design that is traditionally applied to tribal masks for important seasonal rituals.

"My projects always aim to fuse some aspects of Chinese and Ugandan culture," says the tea set's creator, Ocen Robert.

In 2015, Robert arrived in China from the East African nation to pursue a higher education in ceramic arts at Jingdezhen Ceramic University in East China's Jiangxi province.

"Nihao ('hello' in Mandarin) was the only Chinese word I knew," he says.

Eight years later, Robert, now 33, speaks fluent Mandarin. The Ugandan is also enrolled in a PhD program focusing on design, with his art pieces sold at national-level exhibitions in China.

"China is one of the safest nations I have ever been to," he says.

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