Building up the positive cognitive value of children’s art education and cultivating kids’ ability in terms of creative thinking and formative expression, the exhibition showcases the significance for future Chinese generations while realizing the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation. In the reply from President Xi Jinping to eight senior professors of Central Academy of Fine Arts, Xi emphasised the reinforcement of aesthetic education. Art education is an important component of aesthetic education, which could facilitate the shaping of a beautiful mind. As a general education, the ultimate aim of art education points to the development of children’s personality and creativity.
At 2:30pm on 29th August 2019, the exhibition “CAFA·LUCION: Excellent Works from National Youth and Children Painting Competition” commenced, together with the launch of the book “The Research Report on Art Education Achievements”. After a recruitment period of artworks over two months through three appraisals and a selection process, the judges have chosen 130 finalists from nearly 10,000 works, of which 92 received awards. In addition, the organizer also issued special awards to institutions and individuals who actively participated in this competition. All of these 130 artworks are exhibited in the western exhibition hall of the CAFA History Museum.
Gao Hong, Party Secretary of CAFA, Fan Di’an, President of China Artists Association and President of Central Academy of Fine Arts, Wang Shaojun, Deputy Party Secretary of CAFA, Jiang Dong, President of LUCION Labor Union and Vice Chairman of LUCION Public Welfare Foundation, Pan Chenghui, President Assistant of CAFA attended the event. The opening ceremony was hosted by Feng Haitao, Dean of the School of Continuing Education at CAFA. After Mr. Fan Di’an and Mr, Jiang Dong’s speeches at the opening ceremony, leaders from various departments, experts and judges of this competition awarded prizes to the selected winners.
In order to demonstrate the social responsibility and spirit of state-level collage and large-scale state-owned enterprises, “CAFA·LUCION: National Youth and Children Painting Competition” co-organised by CAFA and LUCION officially issued a national open-call for works on 12th May 2019. The closing date was 26th July 2019, the official publicity of this competition has been viewed more than 600,000 times, and 20,000 people have registered to participate. A total of 9,528 works by Chinese citizens from 33 countries and regions around the world were received by the organising committee. Specifically, 7,726 works are from individuals, while 1,838 works are from various institutions (including rehabilitation centers for special and autism children). According to the comprehensive registration chart and the ranking of visits, participants from Beijing, Shandong, Hebei, Guangdong presented outstanding performances. The highest proportion of participants are from Beijing, while the dissemination of this event is maximized in Shandong.
The purpose for CAFA to organize this competition is to promote the healthy development of aesthetic youth education and Children’s art through the innovative model of “Selection – Guide – Interaction – Accompanying Growth”. The organising committee invited tutors from CAFA and national experts on children’s art education to serve as the initial evaluation judges. Experts, scholars and professors nationwide were invited to take charge of the final evaluation, including Yang Jingzhi, Yin Shuangxi, Qiao Xiaoguang, Jin Rilong, Chen Shuxia, Wang Huaxiang, Jiang Dong, Wang Chuan, Zhang Yanzi, Tang Hui and Hu Xidan among others.
In the seminar after the final evaluation, judges exchanged their ideas regarding the paintings of this competition, the development of Children’s art education as well as the joint promotion of art education by the college and society. Yang Jingzhi, Professor of the College of Fine Arts at Capital Normal University and Honorary President of China Association for Children’s Arts, holds the view that, fine arts showcase different characters from other art courses, such as music and dance which require techniques in teaching and basic skills in learning and practice. Children’s painting is not in this case as kids are born to paint. She believes that Children’s paintings are not about the education of professional techniques, and children are not the community that expects technique teaching. Qiao Xiaoguang, Professor of the School of Humanities at CAFA and Doctoral Supervisor, pointed out that one of the most prominent problems in China regarding children’s art education lies in the ethical aspect. It is not the result of teaching but the nature of children that they can and need to sketch and paint by the age of six to seven for healthy growth. The idea is not only about the educational ethics, but also related to the incomplete aspect in the field of ordinary people’s cognitive thinking outside professional art circles.
More research results on art education and the award-winning works of the competition are organised into the book “The Research Report on Art Education Achievements”, with a total of 30,000 words and more than 200 pictures. By comprehensively using the methods of comparison, analysis, induction and deduction as well as referencing the law of child psychological development, this report conducted a comprehensive analysis of representative works and phenomena concerning youth and children’s art education.
As Mr. Fan Di’an mentioned in his article “Promoting the Spirit of Chinese Aesthetic Education in Art Education” that CAFA in the new era should bear more responsibility for social art education, strives to produce and disseminate artworks that represent the spirit of Chinese culture and reflects on Chinese people’s aesthetic pursuit. The popularization of social art education is also included in this responsibility. The successful organization of this event means that CAFA and LUCION have taken a solid step in promoting the development of children’s art and the significance of national art education.
Mr. Jiang Dong mentioned that the joint organization of the “National Youth and Children Painting Competition” is another measure taken by LUCION to promote juvenile art education. LUCION and CAFA will continually hold this event and strive to develop it to a high-impact public welfare cultural brand. By doing so, they hope to establish an academic standard to promote the development of national children’s aesthetic education.
Art nourishes the soul, opens up ideas and awakens expressions. The essence of energy and instinct power from the painting by kids can be viewed in the works in this exhibition. The organising committee wishes the young painters a broader way of art creation and a bright future.
The exhibition remains open till the 15th September 2019.
Text by Emily Weimeng Zhou
Edited by Sue/CAFA ART INFO
Exhibition View by Hu Sichen
Photo with watermark courtesy of the organizer