When considering the riddled history of China, many don't often realize the traditional emphasis placed on art. Some ancient Chinese pottery can be dated back to the Neolithic era, and beautiful calligraphy, paintings and jade works commissioned by Emperors from the first centuries can be seen pristinely preserved in many museums around the world.
Although recent headlines about China tend to me more economic, don't be fooled, China is quickly becoming an innovative beacon for the modern art world.
2015 alone boasts The Hong Kong Art Basel, Art Beijing, Shanghai Design Week, and the Hong Kong Arts Festival, all internationally acknowledged creative or performing art shows that feature a myriad of international works across various platforms.
Kicking off in February and ending March 29, the 42nd Hong Kong Arts Festival features over 130 performances and 250 events. Throughout six weeks, festivalgoers can experience performances ranging from classical music to contemporary dance, poetry, opera and flamenco dancing. This festival is the pinnacle of music, dance and theatre culture in Hong Kong.
Photo courtesy of NY Times 2012
Also in Hong Kong during the month of March is the third annual Hong Kong Art Basel, part of the international Art Basel series. Taking place March 15-17 this festival showcases the dynamics between East and West while providing a phenomenal platform for the emerging and established art world in Asia. Featured works include paintings, sculptures, installations, photographs, video and editioned works from across 12 decades of art focused on six areas: Galleries, Insights, Discoveries, Encounters, Magazines and Film.
Photo courtesy of ART BASEL 2014
March 27-30 Shanghai will be hosting Shanghai Design Week Spring Series with an emphasis on interior design called Design Shanghai 2015. After being awarded UNESCO's City of Design award in 2010 and seeing an 11 percent growth in China's design industry in 2013, Shanghai has been relentlessly working to truly become a "City of Design" ever since. It does this by incorporating artistic design into almost every aspect of the city and this festival is an example of one of their efforts to bring design and society together. This event showcases 300 exhibitors both classic and contemporary, ranging in everything from unique furniture to ornate sculptures to distinct architecture.
Photo courtesy of Design Shanghai 2014
The last but not least of the spring art season in China centers on the 10th annual Art Beijing festival, May 1-3, where patrons can admire and/or purchase oil paintings, prints, sketches, sculptures, installations, Chinese traditional paintings and calligraphy, contemporary ink paintings, furniture and jewelry among others. A major motivation of this festival is public art education. Last year Art Beijing featured ART ZONE, a series of art installations scattered throughout Beijing accompanied by 14 public welfare education forums. This event seeks to effectively engage the public with art and cultivate a deeper sense of public participation.
Photo courtesy of Art Beijing 2014
Art vultures and those who simply admire art will both be impressed by China's appreciation, engagement and variety of art, a fascination of Chinese society that only seems to be growing.