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Peasant paintings stir art circles

07-15-2010 08:56 BJT

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The ongoing National Peasant Painting Exhibition at the Zhejiang Art Museum in Hangzhou, East China, has caused a stir in art circles. And now, a declaration by the event's sponsor has aroused even more discussion.

It took two sponsors, the China Federation of Literary and Art Circles and China Artists Association, to mount such a large-scale exhibition.

The China Artists Association announced that 46 of the participating artists are able to apply for membership in the organization, using their exhibiting works as a reference. Such a decision is rare in China's art scene.

Xia Chao, chief of China Federation of Lit. & Art Circles, said, "A lot of people used to make light of peasant paintings and regarded it as simple formatting and unsophisticated colors. But that is wrong. We have discovered the hidden gems of peasant paintings, that is, a profound perception of art. That's why the highest hall of art in China is open to those painters."

The ongoing National Peasant Painting Exhibition at the Zhejiang Art Museum in Hangzhou, East China, has caused a stir in art circles. 
The ongoing National Peasant Painting Exhibition at the Zhejiang Art Museum in 
Hangzhou, East China, has caused a stir in art circles. 

Most of the peasant painters are not academic art majors. And this announcement seems to be encouraging to them, while art circle insiders have expressed their concerns.

Xu Jiang, president of China Academy of Art, said, "Peasant paintings are derived from an ideal, an unique branch of art born from the vast plains. We hope those artists can preserve their indigenous essence and never lose it. It is not a matter of whether they are qualified for the association or not. Authenticity is the core that keeps the art alive."

With their bold strokes and strong dashes of color, peasant paintings absolutely break the bounds of academic theory. As a folk art in many areas across China, it has never been considered by state professional art organizations.

The China Artists Association hopes to present a panorama of peasant paintings via this exhibition and bestow an appropriate platform for the artists. The organization says keeping the art form's free and un-restrained manner and rustic charm is the most important job for them, not offering a professional title.

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