Bbeyond, Ireland’s oldest performance art organization, is fostering cultural exchange by bringing eight Chinese performance artists to collaborate with four Bbeyond members from Ireland. This initiative aims to build bridges between different cultures and promote mutual understanding through the arts.

The cultural exchange between Guyu Action artists from Xi’an, China, and Bbeyond is named Common Groundwork. This exchange seeks to showcase the shared artistic foundations between different cultures and pave the way for future collaborations and dialogues. Brian Patterson, a Bbeyond board member, underlines the common thread of ancient philosophies that transcend space and time, emphasizing the importance of art and artists in society.

The participating artists from China include Chen Qiuge, Li Mengyuan, Xiang Xishi, Su Baiwei, Wang Pan, Mirror Huang, Pan Chennong, and Lyu Desheng. Additionally, artists Dr. Sandra Johnston and Sinead O’Donnell from Ireland will perform alongside Rainer Pagel from Belfast, Wioletta Ratajczak from Dublin, and Rebecca Strain from Donegal.

Rebecca Strain, a newly commissioned artist for Bbeyond in 2024, is set to open the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival on Wednesday, May 1. She will be mentored by Bbeyond members and receive financial support for creating new works. Rebecca, who also runs the Art Link organization in Donegal, is excited to showcase her second performance at the festival.

In another creative endeavor, the Shankill Mission on the Shankill Road has been transformed by the Vault artists over the past eighteen months. With 20 artists working on various projects, including the Belfast Tool Library, a dance studio, and a boat build for Belfast 2024, the space is a hub of creativity. An open day is scheduled for Saturday, May 4, from 2pm to 5pm, inviting visitors to explore the vibrant art scene on the Shankill.

For those who wish to share their thoughts on these cultural initiatives, letters for publication can be submitted to Conor McParland at or to Editor Anthony Neeson at Andersonstown News/North Belfast News, Teach Basil, 2 Hannahstown Hill, Belfast BT17 0LT. Join the conversation and contribute to the discourse on the intersection of art, culture, and society.

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