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Rural folks, rural strokes

By Deng Zhangyu | China Daily | Updated: 2017-07-22 09:01
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Artists from Australia teach painting in Xu village. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Art festivals

With old houses having been renovated and art festivals being regular fare, Xu village has attracted many art students who go there to create works, and travelers who are interested in art as well.

In fact, adults who had abandoned the village for the city are now making the homeward journey and staying to make the most of work and business opportunities such as setting up homestay establishments or running inns.

The core of rural development is restoring the respect of villagers for their forebears, Qu says. He encourages villagers to take out genealogical books often hidden under a bed and put them on display in their sitting room.

Sun Jun, a painter, promoted a similar idea when he helped revive Haotang village in Henan province from 2011.

Haotang, which many now regard as one of the most beautiful villages in China, has a clean river running through it, rows of two-story courtyard houses-complete with sitting rooms in which the owner has laid out books displaying family genealogy.

"We encourage them to do this so they know who they are and where they come from," Sun says. Villagers once had a tradition of valuing their ancestors, but in the frenetic din of modernization they threw this away, he says.

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