This gallery of images is a tad atypical and perhaps not germaine to the overall theme of urbanization in China,
yet I feel there are enough topical connections that can be made simply by exploring these paintings. I came across this public display in front of an elementary school (the Huaixi xiaoxue 淮溪小学) in the city of Huaibei in northern Anhui. It appears the task was to allow free reign and express projections of life well into the future, primarily for the city as habitat and immediate environment, but also for the future self. The childrens' age ranges between 7 and 10 years. The variety of paintings, most of them in strong colors and bold designs, moves between Huaibei as home (town) to paintings of nature. The latter include birds, green spaces, blue skies, a bright sun, rabbits, fish, buttterflies etc. These are "happy" paintings, positive in outlook, even though none of the natural elements enlisted above ever constitute the reality of the conditions in Huaibei, a refurbished city with very few aesthetic assets or pleasing vistas. The "urban" elements included in the paintings include high rises, cars & trucks, airplanes, a tank (in front of the Huaibei government building, of all places), and wide roads.
Emplyoing an outsider's impressionistic viewpoint, it must be said that the children have expressed not only their experience, but also their desires (the feminine dress
code depicted in # is very rural-immigrant-in-Shanghai for example) and hopes. I found the display of "hometown Huaibei" intriguing enough to document almost the entire series, and have uloaded the images here as material for study and reflection.
Sony RX100; processing in Adobe Lightroom.
Visited on June 5, 2013
Thomas H. Hahn
© Thomas H. Hahn Docu-Images