My name is Tingting. You might know my famous Belgian brother, TinTin from his series of adventures! (Just kidding! Haha). I’m so glad to be one of your instructors, along with Kristen and Tony!
Now I’m sitting at home, in my study room in Shanghai and reflecting on the course I led with Dragons last summer. Every memory from that trip is so special.
I was born and raised in the southwest China. Kunming is just one of my hometowns. You may be wondering, how many hometowns do you have Tingting? Well, at least two! My father was one of the thousands of “Sent-Down Youth” from Shanghai in the end of 1960’s, and Kunming has become his hometown since then. After my Dad passed away in 2012, I took my mother and daughter back to his hometown, Shanghai. We called this move our return. We were like sand in the river, changing locations along with the waves, but we were rooted deeply in the place where we born and loved our new home. So, both Kunming and Shanghai are considered home.
My major in college was in art. After graduation I worked as a curator in a Beijing gallery with the strange name, Long March. That job brought me physically and mentally to several interesting places in China and Southeast Asia. I experienced many different lifestyles in China through this work. Eventually, I become unsatisfied with the business situation artists were facing, so I put all of my savings into an MBA program and I immersed myself in the economic theories and business practices of corporations. I was constantly looking for connections between art and business, and was lucky to meet many like-minded fellows and have kept polishing my ideas with professors. At the end of the MBA, I presented our group thesis paper at the business School of Oxford University, being noted as someone who was more interested in theory than traditional business networking.
Although many friends encouraged me to open my own art gallery, I took the more technologically relevant path and started a column on Wechat (China’s major social media outlet) and began publishing Op-Ed pieces on art and education topics. I also run a small study group where I tutor 3 kids and teach Chinese poetry.
I believe a better way of learning is to be on the road, constantly pushing yourself into new situations. Spaces outside of school is where learning starts. Here I greet you with a drawing that I did on Tian’anmen Square this spring. I look forward to hitting the road with you all this summer!
With the morning sunshine from Shanghai!
p.s. The photo is of me (middle) with the Kou Family in the village of Xiangshuihu, a place our groups sometimes visit outside of Beijing