Foreign media notice transformation of China's "oil painting reproduction world factory"
BEIJING, Jan. 29 (Xinhua) -- Foreign media have been following the development of Dafen, the oil painting village accommodating mostly Chinese artists in a suburb of Shenzhen, in China's Guangdong Province.
Once known as "world's largest oil painting reproduction factory," Dafen reportedly has gathered more art creators than copiers nowadays.
The change came with the dipping foreign demand during the 2000s, when economic recession hit most part of the world, according to a Daily Telegraph report. Dafen artists thus gradually turned to China's middle class with increasing demands and a better taste for art.
"In 2016, 70 per cent of Dafen's sales were domestic, amounting to 4.1 billion yuan (425 million British pounds)," Daily Telegraph reported Sunday, adding that "demand for replicas was mostly driven by foreigners."
Artists in Dafen village have already realized their reputation for production line art, as many are exploring a new development path by producing original art works and creative art-related products.
More young and ambitious painters who want to be skilled painters are coming to Dafen despite its "stigma", the Daily Telegraph quoted a local artist named Zhao Bei.
Another report published by Artsy, an online platform and database of art works, pointed out that local Chinese government has been trying to change Dafen from "a city of cheap fakes" to "a creative hub home to original artists."
The Government of Shenzhen city promoted the Dafen brand and artistic initiatives by setting up an art industry association and merchandising the Dafen art industry at various domestic fairs and expos, according to Artsy.
The village's art industry started in the 1990s, when Hong Kong painter Huang Jiang created a replica assembly line and gradually gathered an army of painters.