Shenzhen is one of the largest and most comprehensive painting art areas in China, as well as one of the largest global market holders in the field of painting. The name for one of the most popular areas in Shenzhen is Dafen Oil Painting Village. Dafen is the largest producer and has the most diverse selection of various types of painting in all of China.
Since it is known as one of the most famous landmarks in the entire city of Shenzhen, the Dafen Oil Painting Village is increasingly popular as an area offering various types of interesting objects that are so impressive and rare to behold. It is most famous for producing countless near-exact replicas of the most famous paintings in western art, but now you can also find excellent original works by local artists. Dafen has a unique landscape where the entire surface area is dominated by various types of buildings with unique design and architectural style. In addition, a series of ornaments full of artistic flavor adorn the streets throughout the area.
On a scorching hot Sunday afternoon in June, PKU Campus Advisors and some international students made a short visit to Dafen Oil Painting Village. Many of us had never visited Dafen Oil Painting Village before. We wondered what the place looked like and wanted to see firsthand how the painters mix and match the oil colors to make a beautiful painting. The heat of the sun did not prevent us from enjoying the diverse oil paintings. Some of us visited the free museum to see the paintings in their collection, which is comprised of recently completed original works, many of which are quite stunning. Others hunted for paintings in the shopping area. We didn’t want to go home without bringing any cool paintings with us!
“Dafen village is relaxing. Adults and kids were sitting outside of stores quietly working on their piece. If you want, you can spend a whole afternoon enjoying the charm of oil painting. Dafen offers a lot of choice, from [reproductions of] very famous western artists’ masterpieces to traditional Chinese theme, you can always find something. The delicate products are affordable. I bought 3 small pieces, which cost 95 RMB. Dafen is definitely a must-go place, not only for its worthwhile souvenirs, but also its art vibe.” Kelly, STL student.
“Dafen is the heaven of artists, and I was deeply impressed by the spirit there. Although Shenzhen is a young city, places like Dafen add more cultural color to it. [It was a] good choice go there with our friends.” Grace, STL student.
“It was exciting to see a lot of beautiful and realistic art. As I am a paint[ing] hunter by [sic] myself with a limited budget. I was looking for a ‘starry starry night’ painting…I just realize there, when you have a quality, you also have a price, so the quality that’s not really good have a cheap price, and the really good one have a high price. So, I decided not to bought [sic] it when I saw what I want in a very high price… But this is what’s called ‘art’ itself. Finally, I just bought the 4 small framed nature scene picture, with a very affordable price, and for me, the painting its really realistic and wonderful, so I felt so satisfied to (have) bought these items.” Kenny, student from HIT who joined us.
3 Things to Do in Dafen (Other than Shop!)
1. Take an art lesson
Many artists provide lessons all day at their stalls. Walk around until you find a spot (and deal) that you like. Of course you get to take the painting home with you as well!
2. Grab a cup of coffee
There are plenty of artsy and relaxing coffee shops that also double as galleries. We stopped in the beautiful kk Gallery Coffee Bar (kk 咖啡画廊)
3. Visit a museum
Check out the free Dafen Art Museum (大芬美术馆) for the best original works by local Dafen artists. It is also nicely air conditioned for when you need a break from the sun!
Written by Claudia Fauzi