In the spring of 1999, when Anna Mellergård, also being a poet herself, shared with Mr. Tomas Tranströmer, who has already been an established “Master of Poetry”, the idea of establishing in Kunming, the Spring City in China’s Southwestern frontier, a cultural exchange center that would directly get connected with Scandinavian Counties, Tomas generously authorized his name to Anna. In May 2000, The Tomas Tranströmer Cafe / Cultural Gallery was opened to the local Kunming folks who love life and cultural affairs just outside of Kunming University. A historic chapter of linking Kunming of Northern Europe has since then been opened.
In the spring of 2001, at the invitation of Anna Mellergård, Mr. Tomas came to Kunming and visited the cultural gallery named after him, accompanied by his wife, the poet Mr. Li Li, the Sweden copper plate artists and the Cultural Counselor of the Embassy of Sweden. The old man beamed a hearty smile at the first sight of the cartoon portrait of himself engraved on a stainless steel. During his two-week stay, together with local poets and artist circle, the T’café Gallery held a series of in-depth exchange programs. Mr. Tomas, though being hemiplegia, had a heartily communication with his fellow local poets to the Cafe and had been in high spirits throughout the activities. He presented the autographed Chinese poem collection of himself to every Kunming poet who loved his poetry. Interestingly, the hemiplegic Tomas, while communicating with those Kunming people who were surrounding him, had his wife Monica acted as an interpreter for him. Whenever he wanted to say anything, by looking at his wife and uttering indistinct sound with his mouth, Monica was able to, by looking her husband in the eyes, accurately deliver the ideas that the Poet would like to express, even some profound concepts. The tacit understanding and friendship between them were so fascinating that his counterparts to the site, like Yu Jian, a poet from Kunming, Wu Weimin, the president of Yunnan Art Institute, and other artists like Su Xinhong were greatly marveled!
T’café Gallery moved into the “Loft of Kunming” at the invitation of artists like Tang Zhigang, Ye Yongqing in 2002. And the debut exhibition after the moving was a Tomas’ poetry writing program presented by a number of famous calligraphers from Yunnan, such as Mr. Sun Jiandong, with various styles. T’café Gallery has also officially changed its name to Tomas Tranströmer Cultural Gallery (TCG Nordica).
TCG Nordica invited the poet Yu Jian, Yi Sha together with another two to Sweden for the “Nässjö Poetry Festival” in 2003. Anna Mellergård brought these poets from China to the Småland and paid a special visit to the house where the Poet lived, bringing greetings to the couple from the literature and arts circles of Kunming. During their visiting Tomas even mentioned some of the details when he visited the Golden Temple in Kunming two years ago. A year later, the Sweden “Nässjö Poetry Festival” moved to Kunming, and it was the first Poetry Festival activity held in Asia ever in history. It was co-sponsored by TCG Nordica and the Publicity Department of Kunming.
In 2004, Wu Yuerong, one of the founders of TCG Nordica from China, went to Sweden and jointly hosted with the Malmö Art Academy a cultural program featuring the poetry reading of Tomas’ works . During that time, Mr. Tomas played the piano with one hand, while people from more than a dozen countries reading his poems with their own languages.
TCG Nordica established its second center in Sweden in 2008, and the Poet once again attended the event and observed another grander gathering where his poems were read with even more languages.
In the past eleven years, the Nordica Tomas Tranströmer Cultural Gallery in Kunming has been always adhering to the cultural purity of Mr. Tomas, and has been faithfully continuing the course of multi-cultural exchange between Nordic and Yunnan, China. Mr. Tomas has been watching this cultural bridge that is so far away from its home, yet has been named after himself. He as well as we all know that this cultural center located in Kunming is the only cultural fortress authorized by the poet Tomas Tranströmer himself.
Our most heartfelt congratulations to Mr. Tomas for being awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize for Literature!