DaFen Village: Immersed in Art

Grade 7 went on a field trip for their Visual Art Class to explore DaFen Village, famous for oil painting galleries, art studios and its museum in Shenzhen.

We had a very fun and productive experience at the Art Village. The bus arrived in Shenzhen at 9:30 am, and many artists were just opening their doors or preparing their supplies to begin work. We saw different types of the art business and many people were busy working during the fresh morning hours. The artists were focused on painting their works in progress, or preparing materials to get some paintings sold that day.

We ventured inside several art studios to look closer. Students asked various questions as part of an interview and research assignment. In class, we are investigating how different regions create works of art using the resources available. By inquiring about the ‘time, place and space’ of this village we can construct a better understanding of the meaning of the works created in this location, as well as others around the world. 

Some of the questions the students asked include: How does an artist come up with ideas or find inspiration? What are some of the challenges the villages face economically? And, How many paintings they make a week? We were surprised by their answers and kept walking along the village seeing more unique spaces and galleries that were tailored for different types of tastes. Some more traditional, others more modern, some works were very expensive and, some quite affordable.

After spending some time walking, we split the group in two and visited two different local art centers where students could sit and write down the answers to their questions, and started sketching an idea based on their favorite work seen so far.

At around 11:30 we walked to a local restaurant and shared a great meal together. Then we had a digestion walk towards the DaFeng Art Museum. This institution offers new exhibitions from a myriad of sources, such as various competitions both local Guangdong and national. It has three different floors and over 20 galleries. The works which are mostly oil paintings are presented in so many different styles and depict such incredible beauty that it brings inner peace to all who walk inside. Students walked in small groups around the galleries, at times they would ask their teachers about what the meaning was or what they liked about the artwork in the museum. The large space allowed the students to enjoy the serene atmosphere and inquire in the methods and creative techniques seen in these remarkable works of art which challenge our own understanding of how paint can be used. 

Later in the afternoon we went back to the village and asked an artist who now had set up a workstation where visitors can take a small canvas about 30cm x 40 cm and paint their own image. We all chose some postcards to copy and quickly we all started painting. They enjoyed their time while also creating their art. 

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