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Artist a cut above the rest

SHANGHAI'S fabled shikumen, or stone-gated houses, are the latest subject of paper-cutting artist Li Shoubai.

Li's newest creations are on display at his studio on Taikang Road this month.

"Most of my paper-cuts and paintings are inspired by my childhood memories in shikumen and longtang (lane)," Li says. "Taikang Road, with its mix of East and West, is a good location for my works. I can show paper-cutting and traditional Chinese culture to more people."

The man has high hopes for the future.

"When talking about Shanghai, I hope people will think of my shikumen. That's my dream," he says.

Both his paintings and paper-cuts feature daily life in the 1930s and 1940s in Shanghai's narrow houses and narrow lanes. All his works illustrate an attention to minute details.

For example, four elegant ladies dressed in qipao leisurely sit, chat and play mahjong on a summer afternoon. The table, chair and even the bird cage in the scene are inscribed with traces of "the good old days."

Li believes that traditional handicrafts should be celebrated and preserved although he has taken artistic license to fuse his unique style and technique and give new life into paper-cuts.

"In the future, the art of paper-cutting will be integrated with modern furniture, fashion design and even digital products," Li says. "Paper-cutting is not only about art, but also about influencing people's lifestyles."

In order to spread the art form to more people, Li has also started teaching a private class. He teaches people how to use the scissors to create the patterns they want.

"My class will have six students and everyone is welcome - Chinese and foreigners," Li says. "I am sure that you will be amazed at how art can be born just from a pair of simple scissors and a piece of paper."

Date: through June 30, 10am-8:30pm

Address: Bldg 4, 210 Taikang Rd

Tel: 6467-7607


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