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Whole Uyghur Village in China Consists of Painters

Ceyda Arınç
Ceyda Arınç
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Famous painter Abdulkerim Nesirdin of Xinjiang origin had an exhibition in the United States in 2008 where the works of Avat village peasants were introduced. 13 of these paintings were given to the auction and the most expensive painting was sold for a $350.

Afterwards the interest of peasants for painting increased in the village excessively and local government increased support for the peasant painters. China’s Xinjiang Uyghur autonomous region, the only village with a painting academy is situated in the northwestern part of Taklamakan Desert in Avat County.

All painters here are working farmers from generation to generation and most of them lack training, professional fine arts knowledge but nothing stops them from brushing their feelings on canvas. In the district, the number of peasants who paint constantly increase, the eldest being 70 and the youngest being 18 year-old, there are around 100 painters, producing more than a thousand paintings per year.

Painting In Every House

Painting has become a part of the daily life of the villagers, it is random to see paintings drawn by local villagers in every family’s house. Dolan Village Arts Academy teacher Ablajian Turniyaz, while assessing the supply of the artistry says; ‘the oldest paintings were drawn on furniture yet the current ones depict national unity of modern society and Dolan culture. The use of color and imagination is more daring than before, reflecting the changes in life.’

Ava Education Sports Radio Film and Television director Tian Zhaohui says on the other hand; ‘All our paintings are done by villagers who are involved in agriculture. We provide space for talented artists so that they can come to the place to produce their artwork on Saturdays, Sundays and in their spare time. We provide paints and canvases for free.’

35 year old Turniyaz after receiving his pedagogical graduate education returned to his hometown and began to teach at the Academy.  Turniyaz says; ‘The peasant painters paint out of their hearts and do not need much guidance.’

The lure of the paintings stem from joy of living rather than painting technique. The planning of the paintings, colors and lines possess aspects that amzaze professional painters.

Possible Income From Sales

Painting apart from introducing the life of peasants to the world has become a revenue-generating sector for the peasants. Revenue has become public expectation now naturally, therefore the village set up an office for online sales along with partnerships with large enterprises in order to be introduced to the whole world.


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