Water town becomes global art center


By Fei Lai
BEIJING, Dec. 7 — The ancient water town Zhujiajiao in Qingpu District has become a modern bridge for international art exchanges.
A total of 16 Chinese and Italian artists have been invited to showcase around 50 works at the “Bridge of Humanities” exhibition in the town, which will run through the end of December.
The artists spent eight days there to conduct exchanges and create paintings.
The exhibition is not a one-shot deal for Zhujiajiao, however. The Italian artists set up an experimental center for artistic creation there, and the Luxun Academy of Fine Arts and the China Central Academy of Fine Arts also unveiled their centers in the town.
At the launch ceremony, Ponte-Roma International Artists’ Association set up its Shanghai office.
Cai Zhong, director of the publicity department of Qingpu District, calls the moves part of an effort to build Zhujiajiao into a center of artistic and international flavor.
“It not only offers young people and artists the opportunity to communicate with masters from around the world, but also enhances the influence of Zhujiajiao,” Cai says. “It could be a window to know Chinese culture through Italian artists’ eyes.
“With a centuries-old history, the town needs new energy to light its cultural and art path. Meanwhile, it will speed up the development of related industries such as art auctions and exhibition,” Cai adds.
Gerardo Lo Russo, president of the Rome Academy of Art, believes it was an opportunity for Italian artists to know their Chinese counterparts.
During his visit in Zhujiajiao, Russo created two paintings. One of them was an oil painting called “Bridge,” which attracted the most attention.
“The water town has a lot in common with Venice, which brings me a feeling of familiarity. The artistic center will become a strong link between artists of the two countries, just like a bridge,” he says.
A group of Chinese artists and architects has established their studios in Zhujiajiao, including composer Tan Dun and artists Chen Xidan and Li Douzhi. They will help raise the overall influence of the town in art circles.
Wei Er’shen, president of the Luxun Academy of Fine Arts, says the biggest attraction of Zhujiajiao is its artistic atmosphere and cultural facilities.
“We chose Zhujiajiao to be home of the artistic center because it has a well-preserved ancient look and a water town culture,” Wei says. “In the future, it will be a venue for our students to export Chinese culture and also learn from peers from abroad.”
 
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