The Friendship Agreement between Mosman and Mudanjiang was formed in 1998 to provide an opportunity to develop closer ties between Australia and China at the local, community level. This agreement aims to enhance cooperation in the fields of economy and trade, science and technology, education and the arts, sports and tourism to promote economic prosperity and the development of society. The agreement was formally signed in Mudanjiang by the Mayor of the day, Councillor Jim Reid.
There have been a number of visiting delegations between the two communites over the past ten years. In 2002 the first cultural exchange project was organised and implemented. The Government of Mudanjiang sent an exhibition of paintings and photograhs to Mosman, which was presented in the Mosman Art Gallery. A prominent artist from Mudanjiang named Wang Wen Jiang visited Mosman, where he spent two months working at the Art Gallery. During his ‘artist in residence’ period his studio was open to the public, and with the aid of an interpreter, he talked to visitors and students about his paintings and the exhibition. This project enabled the residents of Mosman to learn about Chinese art and the City of Mudanjiang directly from an authoritative source.
In 2004 Mosman reciprocated with a cultural exchange project for Mudanjiang, also comprising two exhibitions and an artist in residence. The exhibitions were Australian Visions and Post Cards from Mosman, and the artist in residence was Ann Cape. A Mosman delegation visited Mudanjiang to attend the opening of the exhibitions and visit the artist in residence, who had a studio at the Mudanjiang Art Institute.
A selection of photographs from the Post Cards from Mosman exhibition were subsequently recorded on CD-ROM and sent to all Mosman’s Friendship Communities as another cultural exchange project.
Mosman Council has also provided and facilitated financial and in-kind assistance to Mudanjiang primarily through the ‘Girl Child Project’. This project focuses on young girls, especially those from very poor and disadvantaged families. The Rotary Club of Mosman has played a leading role in this project from the beginning by raising funds, which have enabled the girls to continue their school education. In addition, Council staff have raised funds for the Girl Child and Rural School Computer Projects and a number of Mosman residents have ‘sponsored’ a ‘girl child’, providing funds for their ongoing education.
Mudanjiang participated in The Art of Friendship exhibition at the Mosman Art Gallery in 2008. 11 artists were selected to represent Mudanjiang.
The most recent cultural exchange project with Mudanjiang is the Friendship Tree. This large steel sculpture was designed by local artist Ann Cape and made in Mudanjiang, where it will be placed on permanent display in a local park along with sculptures from other Friendship Communities of Mudanjiang. The sculpture celebrates the 10th anniversary of the Friendship Agreement between Mosman and Mudanjiang and was funded by two generous local residents. The work will be installed in Mosman Park in the near future. A delegation led by the Deputy Mayor, Councillor Connon, is traveling to Mudanjiang in June 2009.