“Arts for Crafts’ Sake” in Ningxia

“1st Season of Women in Ningxia”

Sub-project of “Arts for Crafts Sake”  

In 2009, Wen Fang, a young Chinese artist committed to the social advancement in remote areas of China, initiated the “Arts for Crafts’ Sake” project in Beijing. In November 2009, Wen Fang met Hélène Gronier, chairman of Femmes du Ningxia, at the annual gala dinner of CCIFC. Wen Fang contributed one of her own artworks to an auction held that night, and donated all the auction proceedings to Femmes du Ningxia. Femmes du Ningxia is a French NGO which provides vocational training and development consultation to the women in The Ningxia Hundred Flowers Women Cooperative in the arid area in southern Ningxia province. 

Soon, Wen Fang started on-site design and execution together with the women from The Hundred Flowers Cooperative. In May 2010, Wen Fang launched her first art exhibition called “Textile Dreams” in Yishu 8 Art Gallery in Beijing. Bridging Chinese traditions and modern art, the 23 artworks designed by Wen Fang and embroidered by local craftswomen revealed the unique alchemy between two worlds: the tradition-soaked rural world with its age-old craftsmanship and the creative energy of a young urban artist. 

The successful sale of these artworks brought an income of RMB 940,000 in total. From this total, RMB 47,000 was returned to The Ningxia Hundred Flowers Women Cooperative and its members, as a fund for enhancing education, health care and local development. The first cooperation successfully improved the friendship between Chinese artists, the French NGO and The Ningxia Hundred Flowers Women Cooperative. Likewise, it also confirmed the feasibility and sustainability of the “Arts for Crafts’ Sake” project. 

(Images in the ‘Projets/2010’ )

“2nd Season of Women in Ningxia”

Sub-project of “Arts for Crafts Sake”

In the spring of 2011, Wen Fang and curator Gu Zhenqing co-sponsor an art exhibition named Heaven, the 2nd exhibition of Wen Fang and The Ningxia Hundred Flowers Women Cooperative collaboration. The origin of the exhibition theme came from the time Wen Fang mentioned, “I remember the faces of the women in Ningxia. Their faces, exposed to the flying sand and rolling pebbles, were carved with unbending perseverance. Suddenly, you catch a bright smile will burst through beyond their weathered faces. It is just like discovering a wild flower in a wasteland. HEAVEN, the name of the exhibition, just suddenly came out of my mind as I swayed from side to side with the local women on a tractor. When we live, we have many hardships, or we can be in situations where we have no choices. However, there are always people who can show us tenacity, optimism and dignity, within the capacity of their tender lives. The little bud in my artwork HOME expresses a similar idea. Even if these people were in purgatory, they would invariably reveal the light within their hearts. It is the light from heaven. I see that light from these women …”

From May 29th to July 17th, 2011, Beijing Li-space will exhibit HEAVEN Art Exhibition of WEN Fang + The Ningxia Hundred Flowers Women Cooperative. The exhibition hall of Li-space is more than 400 square meters and a number of large-scale artworks will be shown on this occasion. The materials for these artworks are all from Ningxia. Also, the every process of creation was done by hand and completed in the local studio by Wen Fang and women from the Cooperative.

Thanks to the exclusive sponsor, the famous French brand Dior, those local female artisans in Ningxia, who create artworks with Wen Fang, can attend the opening ceremony and enjoy a free five-day tour in Beijing.