An artists’ commune revives China’s rural life

On 26/08/2013 by Site Default
Villagers participate in an annual cultural festival in Bishan (Image by Ou Ning). In rural Anhui, an artists’ commune hopes to revitalise local culture and stem the tide of urban migration

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As millions of people continue to migrate to China’s cities, one man is moving against the tide. Ou Ning –  artist, designer, editor and general cultural connoisseur  –  has renounced the luxuries of urban life and swapped his Beijing apartment for a house in the crumbling village of Bishan in Anhui, one of China’s poorest provinces.

The Chinese government has ambitious plans to shift another 250 millionpeople into towns over the next 12 years in a bid to drive growth and boost consumption.  But Ou Ning believes China’s massive urbanisation has been a destructive social force and its benefits unfairly distributed. He hopes to encourage people to go back to the countryside and to balance the relationship between urban and rural areas.
A few years ago, Ou Ning founded the Bishan commune, which brings together artists and intellectuals to get involved in China’s rural reconstruction movement. He spoke to Beth Walker about his alternative vision of China’s future and how he plans to redress the negative side of urbanisation.–An-artists-commune-revives-China-s-rural-life/en

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