Dafen: Kinko’s of the Art World

Through the new readings for my Electronic Media Studio, I learned about a place in China called Dafen.  It is essentially the Kinko’s of the art world.  It’s where hundreds of Chinese artists make copies of master art works and send them out across the world.  They aren’t trying to pass these off as the original work, just the copy.  As an artist, I cannot imagine being fulfilled with that.  Spending your life as a copy machine cannot be that stimulating.

In one of the articles, someone sent out the picture of the man standing in front of  a line of tanks in the Tiananmen Square protest on June 4, 1989 to several Dafen painters.  The interesting thing is, that some of the artists either omitted parts of the painting or refused to do such a political piece because it was illegal.  Many of them had never seen the image before.  Why?  Because their government controlled what they saw.  This was an image that the Chinese government felt should not be displayed.  So it wasn’t.  The thought that history, that fact, that the past could be controlled, censored and altered is mind boggling.  It’s as if the government were trying to play God.  In fact, for the millions of people who live in China…the government might as well be God.  It recreates their past and determine their future.  It can take the truth away from them.

Of course, I know the truth about what happened in Tiananmen Square.  I’ve seen the pictures.  So it must be the truth, right?




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