Paint a glorious future
(chinadaily.com.cn)| Updated : 2018-09-18Print Print
The Juye county of Shandong's Heze city is hailed as "town of farmer's painting in China", an appellation awarded by the China Federation of Literary and Art Circles. It has also been named "town of chinese gongbi painting" (meticulous painting) by the Chinese Hue Art Association.
In recent years, Juye county Party committee and the county government have attached great importance to the development of the painting and calligraphy industry, making it a toehold to boost the rural revitalization strategy.
Xu Fengqiu (right), dean of the Luxi Painting and Calligraphy Institute, introduces her institute to visitors. [Photo by Ding Yuanyuan/chinadaily.com.cn]
The Luxi Painting and Calligraphy Institute, founded by Xu Fengqiu, a farmer painter in Liuguantun village of Dongguantun township, is spacious, bright and tranquil. The air is laced with whiffs of ink aroma and the four studios are neatly aligned, oozing off the appeal of the "town of painting".
"The institute was founded in July 2003 and covers an area of 26 acres. It has been around for over 10 years and aims for long-term development with strong support from provincial, city and county leaders. It has trained over 3,000 painting and calligraphy talents gratis, 100 of whom are disabled. It has employed over 4,000 people, rendering a 140 million yuan ($20 million) of increase in farmers' income, benefiting the society and economy," said Xu.
The studios are in no shortage of senior and middle-aged painters, of whom younger and middle-aged women make up the majority.
Xu said that the painting and calligraphy team in Juye have grown stronger thanks to the revitalization of rural culture. Female farmers in the neighboring villages have become the backbone of the team.
A female famer works on a painting of peonies at the Luxi Painting and Calligraphy Institute. [Photo by Ding Yuanyuan/chinadaily.com.cn]
"I've become more confident and capable of running the institute now that I have the support of the provincial government, the provincial cultural department and relevant departments. We've taught farmers traditional Chinese painting for free, and the skills can be acquired usually within a year, or half a year for fast learners," Xu said.
"The pay isn't bad either. The women don't have to travel far from home for work now that they can earn a considerable income while being able to attend to chores at home. Their income has gone up, and the culture of painting and calligraphy of Juye can now be reserved and promoted, which is essential to establishing the brand."
At present, meticulous paintings from the Juye Luxi Painting and Calligraphy Institute are sold online throughout the country with an excess demand.
Farmer painters work at the Luxi Painting and Calligraphy Institute. [Photo by Ding Yuanyuan/chinadaily.com.cn]
"In 2018, on the basis of the institute, we established a training base for 'intangible cultural heritage + employment workshops' to boost the co-development of economic and social benefits. We've adopted the method of teaching by professional teachers from the Academy of Fine Arts, instruction by experts, and assistance from earlier students. Members from less well-off families are prioritized for training", Xu said.
"So far we have trained 26 non-local and 30 local students in penury, making efforts in helping people rise out of poverty with intangible cultural heritage and put the rural revitalization policy in practice."
The Juye County Painting and Calligraphy Institute is yet another representative of the burgeoning painting and calligraphy industry in Juye.
Ever since its establishment in 2003, the institute has been mounting its strength and cultivating its image with constant training, sketching, creating, exhibiting, communication and promotion, disseminating its renown as the town of painting and building the brand.
Farmer artists from the Juye County Painting and Calligraphy Institute work on a giant painting of peonies for the venue of the 18th Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Qingdao, Shandong province. [CHINA DAILY]
The institute basked in praise from home and abroad after its large-scale meticulous painting of Flower Blossoms for the 18th Shanghai Cooperation Organization Qingdao summit was put on display.
"Flower Blossoms displays the profoundness of Chinese and Qilu culture. It builds up confidence of the Chinese nation and of the national culture. It's a representation of the artistic appeal of Juye meticulous painting and is essential for the inheritance of the Juye farmer's painting," said Shen Aijun, deputy director of the Juye county publicity department.
"In the meantime, brand consolidation will effectively enrich the farmers and help achieve a win-win situation for rural poverty alleviation and the development of the painting industry in Juye."