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Folk art for the masses

Updated: 05 07 , 2013 19:39
An unprecedented gathering of the country's finest folk arts ended on an optimistic note last week. The first Shanghai Folk Arts Expo saw artists and researchers compare notes on how to preserve China's wide range of folk and ethnic artistic traditions.
Over the past 18 years, Guan Xianglin has set foot on every corner of China, trying to discover and record China's ethnic and folk arts. Although his collection attracted a huge crowd at the expo, he is sorry to see so many artistic traditions fading away.
As China goes farther on its road to industrialization, an increasing number of folk arts and crafts are disappearing. While some folk artists are turning their backs on tradition, others earned their place in the sun thanks to the ancient arts.
One of them is Zhou Zhaoming. For him, paper cutting is a family tradition. Zhou's father once asked him to give up because there was no money in paper-cuts. But with his stellar skills and good management, Zhou's works are selling like hot cakes.
During one forum at the folk arts expo in Shanghai, artists and researchers noted the market's role in promoting folk arts. They concluded that for folk arts to survive, they must appeal to more people, without losing their traditional essence and spirit.
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