All posts tagged: Art

The Art of “Opening-up and Cooperating for the Building of the Silk Road Economic Belt”

It was a busy week in Ürümchi: musicals, archaeology exhibits, art shows, a ComiCon festival, and thousands of visitors from outside the “autonomous” region. Special bus lines were put in place; millions of potted flowers were carefully arranged in sculpted dune patterns; street corners were plastered with giant red billboards which (a la the Shanghai Expo 2010) featured a dancing cartoon named Heavenly Horse Star (Tianma Xingqi), the slogan: “Opening-up and Cooperating for the Building of the Silk Road Economic Belt,” and the logo for the fourth China-Eurasia Trade Expo. According to an official press release, people from 60 countries participated in the events. National leaders such as Kazakhstan’s new Prime Minister Karim Masimov and the Kyrgyz Prime Minister Djoomart Otorbaev came for high level transportation and trade talks. If the projected 200,000 attendees actually came to check out the displays of industry, development and “person-to-person” communication than the event made 10 million yuan from the sale of 50 yuan door tickets alone. One of the most important slogans for the expo (floating above a …

Liu Xiaodong’s “Hotan Project” and the Xinjiang Biennale

In 2012 Liu Xiaodong was named the “most socially aware figure of the year” by Art Gallery magazine. He had just completed his Hotan Project in the deep south of Xinjiang. Utilizing his famously “plein air” method, Liu set up his giant life-sized canvases in the middle of a Hotan river floodplain and lived with Uyghur jade pickers. He spent the summer with them in the dust and the heat; in shelters made of stones and earth. In Art Gallery’s assessment of his project he attempted to capture “the rhythms of people’s lives and the status of their survival.” This is not the first difficult project Liu has carried out. Liu is famous for them. From the Three Gorges Dam, to the Wenchuan earthquake site, to the Tibetan plateau, to inner city youth in Boston, to his most recent project “between Palestinians and Israelis,” Liu seems fascinated by difference, trauma and hardship. Perhaps this related to his position in the Chinese avant-garde art scene. If you look through Ai Weiwei’s images from his time in …

In Memory of an Artist

Memetjan Abla, a painter, teacher, husband and father, known for his subtle use of color in his elegant portraits of Uyghur urban life, was lost on flight 370 from Malaysia to Beijing. He was 35. As the New York Times reported in moving detail, he will be missed: Among the many others in Beijing waiting for word were the wife and 10-year-old daughter of Maimaitijiang Abula, an ethnic Uighur painter and art teacher from the desert oasis town of Kashgar. The family had been living in Beijing for the past two years while Mr. Abula, 35, studied here at the Chinese Academy of Oil Painting. He was traveling in the group of more than 20 Chinese calligraphers and painters honored at an exhibition at the Malaysian Oriental Arts Center in Kuala Lumpur. “She just can’t accept it,” a friend, Ku’erbanjiang Saimaiti, said on Sunday of Mr. Abula’s wife. “There’s no information at all at this moment.” Mr. Abula was proud of his hometown, in the far west, and had done interpretation there for a state …