Art enriches life in NW China villages

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An artistic atmosphere has swept through Caijiapo Village at the foot of the Qinling Mountains, as citizens of nearby Xi'an, capital of northwest China's Shaanxi Province, are swarming to attend art activities there.

"Harvesting wheat is art. As we are the owners of the wheat fields, we are part of the art," said farmer Chen Meng, 60, when he was asked to explain what art is.

Photographers took photos of the villagers laughing with joy after the harvest, and then made them into huge posters as part of a wheat field exhibition.

As a mountain village, the plantation of wheat, corn, grapes and kiwis used to be the main source of income for the villagers.

In 2018, a team from the Xi'an Academy of Fine Arts came to Caijiapo for an art experiment. Thanks to the efforts of the local government and villagers, many artworks were created and exhibited around the village.

Tourists and art students were soon drawn to the village.

"I have been running a restaurant for years. Thanks to the increase in the flow of people, the business has taken a turn for the better," Chen said.

"The arrival of artists has enriched the spiritual life of the villagers. Murals, exhibitions, art and music festivals have been opened one after another. Villagers' incomes have also increased in the meantime," said Wang Yan, former village chief.

"After winning the fight against poverty, we hope to activate the cultural resources of the countryside, so that our fellow villagers can live quality lives. They can drink a cup of coffee by the Qinling Mountains, or listen to a concert in the wheat fields," said Li Hua, Party chief of Xi'an's Huyi District, which channels art activities and talent to the village.

Following in the footsteps of Caijiapo, other villages in Huyi District have also explored their own artistic characteristics to boost rural cultural tourism. 

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