Asian American Women Artists Alliance
Contact: Yan Kong
Rural Life – Celebrating Chinese Peasant Art
In rural China, women play an important role as artists in addition to their other roles as mothers, wives, caretakers of the elderly, and agricultural laborers who make up 60 percent of all fieldworkers. In the past, these artists were often anonymous. But today, many have become well-known and respected, and their works are eagerly collected.
Opening Reception: There will be only one opening reception for
Exhibition Date and venues
March 4 – April 8, 2008 For Women’s History Month
Donnell Public Library
Folk arts in China have long traditions in paper-cuts, woodblock prints, and embroidered textiles. These objects have been made for centuries by peasants. Comparatively, gouache paintings which became popular after the Chinese Peasant Revolution of 1947, are relatively new developments within the category of Chinese folk arts. During the 50s. peasants were encouraged by Chinese government to describe their lives in paintings with strong messages of Communist propaganda. Today, this art is enjoying a renaissance and has shed its political slant to depict simple joy of everyday life in the country.
Chinese folk arts are full of symbolism representing luck, prosperity, long life, happiness, and wealth. Symbols representing these virtues are often seen in everyday life and appear especially during holidays and festivals. These practiced arts are important to Chinese religion and beliefs in the countryside which are used both to decorate homes and to wish for good fortune in all aspects of life. Traditional paper-cuts are made at home with scissors or knives from very thin sheets of colored paper and are pasted on windows or hung on doors, especially during holidays and festivals like the Lunar New Year. Each part of China has different styles of paper-cuts. However, many paper cuts share two common themes: protection from evil forces and the health and well-being of the family. Shaanxi Province is well known for making some of the most beautiful paper cuts and the upcoming exhibits will include many paper-cuts from Shannxi.
Special guest artist Xu Zhu Chu, A master puppet maker and designer will show his wooden puppet heads at Donnell Public Library and AAWAA Gallery.
This exhibition program is supported, in part, with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the Brooklyn Arts Council; JPMorganChase/BAC, China Peasant Painting and Calligraphy Exhibition Committee, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Donnell Public Library, Bread and Roses Cultural Project, 1199SEIU Healthcare Workers East, AAWAA and the David Schwartz Foundation.