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December 1, 2016

Ancient Poetry, Today’s Life!

Ancient Poetry, Today’s Life! 
Calligraphy by Jia Tsu Thompson and a celebration of her lifetime of achievements

Exhibit: Dec. 1 – 28, 2016
Included with Garden Admission | Free for Garden Members

Opening Reception: Saturday Dec. 10, 2016 | 2-4:30pm
The opening reception will include a tea ceremony, Tai Chi sword master and violin performance. There will also be a guest speaker who will speak about Jia Tsu Thompson.
Included with Garden Admission | Free for Garden Members

A scientist, a social activist and an artist, Jia Tsu Thompson reveals modern recreations of classical poetry, Chinese calligraphy and paintings in an exhibition that also points to a lifetime of achievements.

Born in 1934 in the city of Nanchang, Jiangxi Province, in southeast China, Jia Tsu Thompson grew up in what she describes as a “traditional Chinese family where girls were not valued as much as boys,” upholding the old Confucian philosophy that “women without talent are virtuous.” Despite many social challenges, Thompson persevered.

Despite this challenge Thompson persevered, graduating from the National Taiwan University and continued her graduate studies in the United States where she obtained her Masters in Plant Genetics and PhD on Biochemical Genetics. Throughout her life in academia Thompson continued to face challenges, recalling being faced with much “sexism, workplace injustice and racism,” all while trying to raise a family in a country foreign to her. Still Thompson persisted finding inspiration from the loving words of her grandparents and her travels across the world, witnessing and realizing that women everywhere were treated with inequality in different forms. After many years of dedication to scientific research, Thompson committed her life to social activism, fighting all forms of injustice facing immigrant women and racial minorities. Decades later, in Thompson’s retirement she began to study and practice calligraphy. It is through calligraphy where Thompson was able to collide her worlds taking an ancient Chinese art form and fusing it with plant metaphors passing on a message of health, love, and learning.

Today Thompson’s achievements span from making waves in biochemical genetics research, to establishing the first immigrant women’s shelter in Toronto and holding an exhibition of her art to fundraise for Syrian refugees.

Ancient Poetry, Today’s Life! explores the experience and artistic work of Jia Tsu Thompson, a Chinese woman who refused to accept social inequality, and the resulting impact of her commitment to social activism. Her calligraphy and paintings display a powerful personal perspective and message important to share in today’s world.

Jia Tsu Thompson

Jia Tsu Thompson Calligraphy Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden


Start: December 1, 2016 10:00 am
End: December 29, 2016 4:30 pm

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