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April 15, 2011

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Affordable art fair kicks off

ART SH, an art fair for ordinary art lovers, is underway at ShanghaiMart through Sunday and for the first time admission is free. The theme is "The Art of Living."

The fair, in its ninth year, caters more to ordinary people with a passion for art than rich collectors and art dealers.

It features galleries from China, France, Italy, Japan, Russia South Korea and Latin America.

Starting this year admission is free, says Ge Qiantao, the fair organizer.

"We hope to spread art appreciation to more ordinary people because in recent years the astronomical prices are daunting to the public. Here is another platform to share the beauty of art or own an affordable piece of art," he says.

Since its launch, ART SH has been noted for small size, academic quality and introduction of new artists. It covers 10,000 square meters this year.

Besides big names such as Liu Haisu, Fu Baoshi and Zhou Chunya, the event also features painting, sculpture, print and photography by unknown, promising artists.

The highlight is the section titled "Live With Art" that showcases illustrations drawn by a cluster of Chinese artists, including Tang Yunhui, Tao Wenjie, Yan Qing and Xu Yuan. Many of them evoke childhood scenes and fairy tales.

In fact, the art of illustration in China lags far behind that in neighboring countries like Japan. World-famous Japanese illustrators such as Yoshitoro Nara and Murakami Takashi conquered both art and fashion worlds with their creations.

"It's not so easy to create an illustration," says Tang Yunhui who is known for depicting a cute animal world with humanized creatures. "You need an imaginative mind and a pure heart, casting off the pressures and burdens of harsh, cold reality.

"When I illustrate, I feel I am entering an ideal and harmonious world of laughter and joy. - perhaps that's why my works move many peoplel," he adds.

This is the first time that Chinese illustrations have been exhibited at an art fair, says organizer Ge. "Unlike earlier illustrations with a political theme, today they are like a poem written from the artist's heart."

Date: through April 17

Address: 4/F, 99 Xingyi Rd

Admission: Free


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