Directors of more than 60 top museums in the world will join cultural ministers of some countries as well as U.N. cultural officials at an international forum in Shenzhen later this week.

The UNESCO High-level Forum on Museums is scheduled to be held from Thursday to Saturday in Shenzhen to discuss the social, educational and economic value of museums, as well as their key role in promoting intercultural dialogue and sustainable development. This will be the first time the international forum is held in Shenzhen.

Participating in the forum will be directors and vice directors of top museums such as the British Museum, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, France’s Louvre Museum, Russia’s Winter Palace and the National Museum of China.

Wu Fuqing — vice chairman of the UNESCO World Museums Strategic Alliances, and director of Zhizheng Art Museum, one of the co-organizers of the forum — said at a news conference Saturday that China’s rapid economic growth and the fact that the Chinese Government attaches equal importance to both the economy and culture made this forum possible.

“At the invitation of the Shenzhen Municipal Government, the representatives of UNESCO once paid a visit to the Futian venue of Zhizheng Art Museum and were amazed by the sheer amount of the artworks housed in the private museum,” Wu said.

Shortly after the visit, Zhizheng Art Museum received an invitation to the UNESCO World Museum International Conference held in Paris in May 2015. Zhizheng was the only art museum from China to take part in the conference, Wu said.

Wu, however, was not invited to speak at the conference. “From 9 a.m. on the first day of the conference to 4 p.m. the next day, speakers from the U.S., Germany, France and other countries were all invited to speak, but no Chinese. When the conference was about to end, I thought I had to speak, otherwise I would never have the chance. So I stood up to speak out about my feelings and the current development of museums in China and the world.”

In the speech, he said, “Dear fellow delegates, maybe most of you have forgotten Chinese museums, but please do remember that the highlights of the museums in your country are from China. (Continued on Page 3)

“I sincerely hope that the next UNESCO High-level Forum on Museums can be held in China, and even in Shenzhen.”

Zhizheng is the largest private museum in Shenzhen and has aimed at contributing to the city’s cultural development by disseminating knowledge about Chinese culture.

“My museum is free of admission fees. It cannot survive without the support of the government and the strong financial support of our group,” he said, “Every private museum should believe that ‘the world belongs to all,’ have a spirit of devotion and do well by the public, otherwise the museum cannot be sustainable.”

As to the significance of holding such a forum in Shenzhen, Wu thought the forum would boost Shenzhen’s cultural development and call the public’s attention to Chinese culture and civilization. In his view, Shenzhen has changed itself from a cultural desert into an oasis. “With such titles as a UNESCO City of Design and a global model city for public reading,’ Shenzhen is no longer a city without cultural foundation,” he said.

Founded in Shenzhen in 2011, Zhizheng Art Museum currently has branches in Nanshan, Futian and Luohu districts. The exhibition areas of the museum contain contemporary paintings and calligraphy, ancient paintings and calligraphy, porcelains, bronzes, Buddha statues and other exhibits.

Among the many highlights are around 100 ancient paintings from the Song (960-1279) to Qing (1644-1911) dynasties. Some of the works are family treasures passed down from earlier generations of his family, while others were collected by Wu himself from places around the world.

(Source: Shenzhen Daily)