Muralists decorate countryside with creativity, passion

(Xinhua) 16:58, April 08, 2022

CHONGQING, April 8 (Xinhua) -- From sunrise to sunset, Liu Zhicheng, a 26-year-old painter, and his partner Xu Fengkai create artworks on the walls of farmhouses in Xingyi Village, Lijiang City, southwest China's Yunnan Province.

In addition to lotus flowers, cranes and pine trees -- cultural elements that are the locals' favorites -- Liu also borrowed some highlights from "China chic" including Ne Zha from the namesake Chinese animated film, pandas and fairies in ancient costumes. His imaginatively designed artworks always attract curious rural children who crane their necks to see his painting.

Liu has studied wall painting for about six years, forming a special fondness as "wall paintings are more eye-catching for the public in larger spaces and can easily arouse interaction with the observers compared with those on display in art galleries."

China has been striving to beautify its vast rural areas with artworks and upgrade buildings and infrastructure over the years in its bid to fuel rural vitalization.

Hailing from the countryside, Liu knows too well about the archaic and run-down backwaters: tatty and mottled walls along the streets and residential houses patched with advertisements, which tainted the townscape and shrouded the local features.

"I have deep feelings for rural China and I hope to do my part to bring some novelty to the street decorations of villages," Liu said.

In 2020, Liu and his partner began painting walls free of charge and full of love and passion. Their first works were painted on the walls of an ancient town in Tongliang District of southwest China's Chongqing Municipality. In about three months, they finished seven mural paintings.

"Everybody loves the vibrant colors and funny comics," Liu said, adding that some children even created paintings of their own to show them.

A few children were so fascinated by the paintings that their grandma had to pick up a tree branch to "herd" them home. On their way back home, they would look back from time to time, showing their reluctance to leave, according to Xu.

"If our work can sow seeds of art deep inside their hearts and open up new opportunities for their future careers, it would be wonderful," said Liu.

It usually takes Liu about two to three days to complete a wall painting. The two record their creative process through short videos and upload them onto Chinese online platforms, which has won the dedicated artists 330,000 fans and more orders.

The profits generated from the increasing commercial orders in turn can better support the two to continue their public welfare painting campaigns in rural areas.

"I will focus more on Chinese cultural elements in my wall paintings and decorate more walls in villages to draw visitors and help the locals earn their fortunes through tourism," said Liu. 

(Web editor: Xia Peiyao, Liang Jun)


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