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Farmers' paintings showcase Xinjiang's unique culture


12-10-2016 10:03 BJT

As one of the largest ethnic groups in China, the Uygur are widely known for their traditional singing and dancing skills. But farmers in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region's Makit county are using modernist-like painting as a medium to showcase their unqiue culture.

These imaginary scenes appear in the paintings of farmers from Makit County, in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Living by the remote Taklimakan Desert, these farmer-artists have made their names known to the outside world through their unique work.

Kumuksar Township, about 7 kilometers away from the town of Makit, is where the local farmers' signature paintings originated.

Themes are all based upon the farmers' lives: picking cotton, shepherding, building houses, making nan bread or crispy pancakes, singing, dancing, the bazaar, haircutting and so on.

Not having received formal training in art, these farmer-painters follow their own instincts when drawing.

From this cheap poster pigment comes the strong and unexpected colors in the farmers' paintings of Makit. In their creative use of colors, objects are often bright. There are similarities between the farmers' work and modernist art.

The Cultural Station of Kumuksar provides local artists with a studio and materials such as pigments, paper, brushes and sketchpads. Their work is on sale in the showroom, with prices ranging from U.S. $10 to over U.S. $100.

Seventy per cent of the income goes to the artists, while 30 per cent is retained by the Cultural Station to buy materials.

Differing from Makit's traditional folk art like Dolan Muqam music and Dolan dance, which have developed over the centuries, the farmers only started painting in the 1970s.

In the 1960s and 1970s, popular art genres emerged in various areas in China, like workers' paintings, soldiers' paintings and fishermen's paintings. It was also at that time that the farmers' paintings of Makit came into being.

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