Paintings: Naïve Art of China
GINA Gallery’s new exhibition
highlights – in the upper gallery – 60 newly-acquired naïve artworks from China
and Taiwan, while – in the lower gallery – 60 new artworks by about 30 artists
from more than 20 countries worldwide.
Chinese Naïve Art, also known as
“farmer paintings” or “peasant paintings”, came to the fore in mid-twentieth
century, following the establishment in 1949 of the People’s Republic of China.
The new government sought to encourage
farmers with artistic talent to leave the fieldwork to others and to develop an
indigenous art movement that would celebrate the cultural heritage, local
narrative and rural life familiar to them – farming, fishing and festivals as
well as herding and hunting.
Local governmental subsidies and
support have resulted in the concentration of China’s farmer painters in five communities
– Huxian (Shaanxi Province), Jinshan (Shanghai Province), Qijiang (Chongqing
Province), Dongfeng (Jilin Province) and Huangzhong ((Qinghai Province). The
current exhibition at GINA Gallery highlights the artworks of more than 20 of the
leading farmer painters of the two most important of these communities – Huxian
The Huxian naives portray in heartwarming
colors and detail seasonal changes, abundant harvests, overflowing markets,
vegetable oil workshops and local festivals as well as their province’s
spectacular surroundings – breathtaking mountains, valleys and forests. In 1973, the National Art Museum of China
hosted a special exhibition of the
Huxian farmers’ artworks, which was
followed by sensational “roving shows” in eight cities throughout the country
and a series of seminars in 1975 provided by several of the leading Huxian
These “roving shows” and seminars
inspired the founding in the mid-1970’s of a community of farmer painters in
Jinshan, nearby Shanghai, in southern China. The founders of this community had
already evidenced artistic talents but were now provided with an infrastructure
– dwellings, art materials and an exhibition hall -- to develop and display
their remarkable abilities. As Jinshan’s topography is flat and the region is
richly endowed with rivers and lakes, it is not surprising that the artworks of
the local naives have concentrated on the local fishing and boating industries,
water buffalos, geese and lotus ponds as well as village life and ports along
the rivers and other waterways.
GINA Gallery’s current exhibition also
includes several naïve artworks from Taiwan.
As the naives of Taiwan grew up in an urban environment, the subjects
depicted in their artworks are far removed from those of the Chinese “farmer
painters.” The naïve art of Taiwan highlights the daily life of Taipei and
other local cities, busy markets and streets teeming with people, and the
interplay of generations within the home. Clearly, the artists are celebrating a
personal narrative that draws upon the culture, traditions and history of an
industrial country seeking to expand its interaction with the West.
In the lower gallery, we will be
displaying many (mostly new) naïve artworks from the United States, Canada, Brazil,
Argentina, Peru, Ecuador, Mexico, Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador
as well as from Italy, Germany and Finland.