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Public space is new frontier

Exhibition on 100 projects highlights the changes in rural and urban areas in the country, Cheng Yuezhu reports.

By Cheng Yuezhu | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2023-03-20 08:27

Visitors view exhibits on March 1.[Photo provided to China Daily]

The curators adopted railway motifs, inviting visitors on a "journey" through its four categories — "village, ecology, community and digital" — telling stories with exhibits, documents and videos.

"The exhibition reports on 100 projects by 100 individuals or teams, who carried out fieldwork for an extended period of time, and tells of their diligence and devotion," says Gao Shiming, president of the China Academy of Art.

Curator and scholar Zuo Jing has been working on rural reconstruction for more than a decade. In 2019, he was invited to Dananpo village in Xiuwu county, Henan province, which led to its revitalization. The village had gone through boom and bust. In the 1970s, its economy benefited from coal mining, which was then followed by resource exhaustion, pollution and poverty.

On first sight, Zuo says, he thought it was yet another "ordinary village in northern China without any tourists", but he soon saw the potential it held — because of its former economic prosperity, a lot of public buildings remained, including the village committee office, an auditorium and an outdoor stage.

"Our concept is to avoid constructing new buildings and instead renovate existing abandoned buildings, because these buildings carry the historical and cultural memories of the village," Zuo says.

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