Britain's largest contemporary art festival to have heavy Chinese presence

( Xinhua ) Updated: 2016-04-29 15:45:51

The largest contemporary arts festival in Britain is to have heavy Chinese presence, it was revealed on April 28, 2016.

This year the Liverpool Biennial, the largest contemporary art festival in Britain, is taking inspiration from its own city, and a central theme is the city's Chinatown.

Echoes of China and Liverpool's Chinatown will resound in spaces across the city in everyday settings such as supermarkets, and in large spaces such as a now-disused and historic brewery in the city center. Work by 15 artists from across the world will be featured.

Rosie Cooper, the Biennial's head of programs, told Xinhua: "Liverpool has the oldest Chinatown in Europe. It's because Liverpool was a seafaring city and Chinese sailors settled there over the years."

"Chinatown has a very beautiful arch, imported from Shanghai, and we were very interested in looking at how the Chinese community marked their presence," she added.

As China changes, so the architectural symbol changes its meaning, said Cooper, and the arch is now a nostalgic image existing in the city's collective consciousness.

Today's Chinatown is more dispersed, and exists not just in the area of the arch but in online networks and the great amount of China-funded development in the city including New Chinatown and Liverpool2, the largest transatlantic deepsea port in Britain.

The arrival of five 92-meter high cranes for use in the port from Shanghai late last year was a great moment for the city, and as iconic as the arch in Chinatown, Cooper noted.

Among other events, works from 54 artists will be exhibited at the city's Walker Art Gallery as part of the John Moores Painting Prize 2016, and the winner will be announced at the beginning of the Biennial.

Also, on show will be the five prize-winning works from the John Moores Painting Prize China 2016.

The Painting Prize China juror, Ding Yi, said: "I can see the diversity of expressive form and language from both the UK and China competitions. British artists pay more attention to historical clues and symbolic space, and Chinese artists focus more on the present reality and individual experience."

The ninth Biennial begins on July 9 and runs until Oct. 16.

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