Chairman seeks to encourage artists

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 13 March, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 13 March, 2002, 12:00am

The chairman of the CPPCC has called for reforms to encourage more literature and art in China.

Li Ruihuan, chairman of the ninth Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, called for reforms that would encourage potential writers and artists to contribute to China's 'cultural development', Xinhua reported. He said that China's arts community should accept foreign influences but still value historical Chinese traditions.

But people in Beijing art circles say if the Government undertakes reforms, it will have a series of tricky issues to resolve. They include art piracy, lack of funds and difficulties in setting unified standards. Some artists see no connection between national policies and their paintings, sculptures or movies.

'There's absolutely no relation whatsoever,' said Zhang Dali, a sculptor and painter from Harbin who exhibits at a Beijing gallery and spray-paints silhouette images of his head on blank outdoor walls. 'I'm a private artist, not some big art company, so no reform would affect me.'

Mr Li spoke to CPPCC members representing artists and writers.

Representatives of the art community asked Mr Li about intellectual property rights, cultural exchanges with other countries and the role of minority cultures.

'China should not try to set a standard or a moral code for its art, because this effort would be too complicated,' said Sheng Qi, a Beijing-based sculptor and oil painter for 15 years.

But he encouraged the Government to limit the number of copied paintings and sculptures at street markets.

'People who put their art on film, CD, VCD or DVD also face a shortage of money from Chinese sources,' said Michael Primont, managing director with Cherry Lane Music, a Beijing firm that arranges copyright.