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September 18, 2010

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Getting those creative juices flowing

LI Liwen gave out proposals to "uncles and aunties" walking around at the opening of Shanghai International Creative Industry Week on Wednesday, asking them to join her and her friends to create fish with colorful paper strips.

The eight-year-old Shanghai girl and 18 other students aged between 8 and 15, have made more than 200 small paper fish in the past two months. Each is distinctively shaped and colored. The students want to promote the activity to more students and adults around the city.

Many visitors were encouraged and signed up.

Their instructor, Zhu Liqun, curator of the Minhang District-based Zhu Liqun Paper Art Museum, set up a booth at the ongoing creative week to display his fish and other paper art, including paper lamps and headgear.

The middle-aged Shanghai native, who has been working in paper art for decades, thinks children have showed more creativity than most adults in the "colorful fish" project he launched this summer.

"Chinese people are able to make gigantic things like spacecraft and rockets but we do lack good designers for smaller things," he says. "We have first-class oil painting artists but we don't have world-class industrial designers. It's partly due to the education system. We have to open our eyes wide, be curious about life and be more creative."

In fact, the one-week event, running until next Tuesday at SVA Creative Industry Park, aims to show people that creativity is everywhere in our daily life.

On display are tables and chairs, fashionable clothes, an array of lamps, bowls and plates, car models, a soybean milk machine and even a cute robot pet -- most items of daily use.

Earlier this year, Shanghai has joined the UNESCO Creative City Network as the second Chinese city member after Shenzhen in Guangdong Province. A highlight of the creative week is "Shanghai Design Power," a group exhibition featuring signature works of 20 Shanghai-based designers, including car designer Cao Min, architect Wang Xiao'an, graphic designer Liu Yi, cartoon artist Tian Yixin, interior designer Jiang Huiting and fashion designers Qiu Hao and Ji Cheng.

"We believe that the exhibits represent the highest level as well as the latest trend of made-in-Shanghai design," says graphic designer/curator Liu. "They span all categories from architectural buildings to everyday objects."

A modern pot art exhibition showcases more than 70 eccentric pottery pots by artists from over 40 countries, while florists from Tokyo and Paris display the elegant art of floral arrangement.

Another highlight is the "Dutch Design in Shanghai" in a large exhibition area featuring 60 works from the winners of last year's Dutch Design Awards.

The Dutch Design Awards are organized by the Dutch Design Award Foundation and the city of Eindhoven every year to honor prominent Dutch designers.

"The exhibition shows the 'best of the best' of Dutch design," says Antoinette Klawer, project manager of the traveling exhibition at DDA. "Dutch design is known for being out of borders, clear, bright and very, very surprising."

Date: through September 21, 9:30am-4:30pm

Venue: 2/F, Bldg 28, 140 Tianlin Rd


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