By Amy K. WuThe Chinese government is turning a once-unseen and often underappreciated Chinese art project into a big business and entertainment venture, opening a Beijing art exhibition called Wild Life Art.
The exhibit opens on June 11, 2017 and will be the first to display the work of China’s most influential wildlife artists, with work ranging from rare beasts to exotic animals like lions, tigers, and leopards.
“The project is an experiment to see what the Chinese audience would like to see, and it is a very interesting way to introduce the country to art, the most important cultural asset of the Chinese society,” Wang Jian, a curator of Chinese art at the Kunsthistorisches Museums-Institut für Kunst und Gegenwart, told National Review.
“Wildlife is the biggest export of the [Chinese] economy, so this is an important project for the Chinese government, and also for the art industry.”
The exhibit, which includes nearly 150 works by Chinese artists, was commissioned by the Beijing Art Exhibition and Research Centre (BAER) to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Kunsthalle in the capital, according to the BAFTAs website.
The Kunsthase was founded in 1897 as a tourist attraction for the newly founded People’s Republic, and featured exhibitions of rare animals and rare plants.
Wang told National Reviews that the exhibit is about the need for art and culture to be part of the fabric of society, and how it can be a catalyst for social change and improve people’s lives.
“In our society, there are so many different people, each of whom has different views on the world and different values,” he said.
“This project will be a celebration of the diversity of human beings, and a reminder to everyone to reflect on themselves, to be human, and to respect each other.
It’s about being together, not fighting each other, but sharing ideas and experiences.”
For Wang, Wild Life art represents a “true celebration of China.”
“The Chinese audience is always asking, ‘What is art?
How does it relate to China?
Where does it come from?
And what is China’s place in the world?'” he said, adding that the exhibition is “a very personal experience.””
It’s a real gift to the people.”