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Shenzhen shows vitality, dream with "paintbrush" at World Expo

08-26-2010 09:05 BJT Special Report:Shanghai World Expo 2010 | Special Report:30 Anniversary of Shenzhen SEZ |

by Xinhua writers Li Huizi, Wurihan

SHANGHAI, Aug. 25 (Xinhua) -- More than 500 painters, each one painting one unit, have brought together 999 units to create a giant "Dafen Lisa." It is the Dafen version of the classic painting Mona Lisa.

One painter wrote on the back of his painting, "Li Jichao, 27, from Guangdong's Zhanjiang. I want to become a brilliant artist. Go for it."

More than 500 painters, each one painting one unit, have brought together 999 units to create a giant "Dafen Lisa." 
More than 500 painters, each one painting one unit, have brought together 
999 units to create a giant "Dafen Lisa."

The huge portrait of Mona Lisa, at 43 meters long and seven meters high, was created on Jan. 28, 2010. It has become the front facade of the Shenzhen Case Pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo's Urban Best Practice Area.

"Dafen Lisa" is made up of 999 oil painting segments with sizes slightly varying from each other. However, the original style, individuality and mindset of each painting unit has been retained, and painters wrote their names, ages, hometowns and dreams behind each painting.

Over the past two decades, the Mona Lisa, along with other classic artworks, have been repeatedly reproduced in Dafen, an obscure village in southern China's Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, and then shipped around the world.

More than 500 painters, each one painting one unit, have brought together 999 units to create a giant "Dafen Lisa." 
More than 500 painters, each one painting one unit, have brought together 
999 units to create a giant "Dafen Lisa."

Once a poor inner-city village, with an area of only 0.4 square kilometer, Dafen has become the world's largest oil painting manufacturer.

It now has more than 700 painting studios and its products are distributed in more than 60 percent of the global market for oil paintings. In 2007, Dafen's trade volume reached 430 million yuan (63.2 million U.S. dollars).

Meng Yan, the chief designer of the Shenzhen Case Pavilion said, "In Dafen village, it is neither an individual artist's experiment, nor a mere copy of a classic, it is a collaborative creation -- a conceptual art piece involving a great number of Dafen painters."

The pavilion, with the theme, "Dafen Village, the Regeneration of an Urban Village in Shenzhen," attracts an average of more than 10,000 visitors daily, said Li Jian, deputy operation director of the pavilion.

Li said many visitors were Guangdong or Shenzhen natives, and visitors found the exhibition "inspiring" as the pavilion depicts Shenzhen as a frontier for "China dreams."

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