Priscilla Kibbee

I love to travel all over the globe shopping for textiles to add to my wearable art. I have taught quilting to school children in Nepal, seminole patchwork to seamstresses in Thailand, and jackets and embellishment to quilters in Turkey where I also served as a judge at 2 of their International Quilt Shows. I have created garments for 5 Fairfield and Bernina Fashion Shows and teach classes on embellishment and wearable art. Lately I have been leaning more toward making art quilts.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Chinese Farmer Paintings

I began purchasing Chinese Farmers Paintings in 1993 on my first trip to China. I fell in love with two large paintings during a stop in Xian and just had to have them. I subsequently purchased many more on other trips, some of which i kept and framed and others I sold on Ebay. This is the only one I didn't purchase in China. It shows an old woman making tiger toys for babies. I have a nice collection of tiger toys and so , of course, had to have that one too.

This is one of the first ones from Xian. They are photographed on an angle to avoid the camera flash.

This is the other Xian painting. It would make a great quilt.

A wedding procession.

Chinese farmers' paintings have their origins in the 1950s, when the communist party encouraged rural communities as well as the army to engage in art.

"People need art, and art needs more people."

It was this new understanding of art being exerted by common people, instead of bourgeois, academic professionals, that stood at the cradle of Chinese farmers' paintings. Some communes picked it up, in the beginning for recreational purposes, or as a well-meant means of propaganda, or to express their dreams of a better life. The farmers' vision of the Communist paradise was for them straight-forward and simple. Happiness were good crops, a stable full of healthy cattle, a nice home, healthy children, good and sufficient meals, electricity, and every now and then a bit of fun at local festivities.
The farmers' paintings movements continued through the Cultural Revolution and the new era of reforms. And with the political and economic reforms at the beginning of the 1980s, the movement took a new upswing with international exhibitions and with Western tourists coming to China in large numbers.
The best known rural art community is today in the county of Huxian in Shaanxi province. Other well-known centers are in Jinshan County near Shanghai and in the county of Lunan Yi in the Autonomous Yunnan Province. Today, there are more than 40 government recognized farmers painters communities, organized in different artists associations on county, provincial and national level. The Chinese state has promoted these activities and supports them with funds and by providing art training.
The typical Chinese farmers' painting is hand-painted with gouache watercolors on paper. The subjects are taken from the experience of the daily life in rural communities. They show trivial activities like coming home from a market or eating dinner, or they display events like a marriage or a spring festival procession. For Westerners not all the scenes that are depicted are immediately understandable without either having a deep knowledge of habits and social life in China, or getting a good description from someone.

The colors of Chinese farmers' paintings are rather brilliant and vibrant. The whole compositions look like typical naive art. Most of today's core artists underwent some professional art training



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