Dafen Oil Painting Village in Depression

Dafen Oil Painting village is the place in Shenzhen, where 60 % of the world’s cheap oil paintings are produced. The term “village” is a bit misleading. However, Dafen has some nice views and last year made first attempts to move “upstream” in terms of what is called arts. According to today’s issue of the South China Morning Post, in 2006 about 500 million RMB worth of paintings were exported from Dafen. The main clients were American property owners and Hotels. But since September, sales literally collapsed by 70 %. And even prices eroded 30 % still the volume keeps low. Also domestic sales is weak. Last year, even in the boom times, I felt that Dafen is a village of broken dreams for artists. So much skill and so poor living and working conditions, painting all the time the same motives. But now even this went down. The artists get laid off. And the income which was around 200 RMB per painting is now down to 20-30 RMB. It really did not take long until the financial crisis moved from Wall Street to Main Street. But here it is hitting the rice bowl now.

If you want to go there from Shenzhen by taxi and do not speak Chinese, print this for the taxi driver: Long Gang District, Da Fen Oil Painting Village, 龙岗区大芬油画村