Can the New Art Fair Art Xiamen Bring China and Taiwan closer?

The art market serves soft power in Fujian Province.

Art Beijing will celebrate its 10 year anniversary in 2015. Photo via: ML Art Source

Can a new art fair bring China and Taiwan closer? Next year, Art Xiamen has the ambition to achieve just that.

Slated for April 18–20, 2015, the inaugural Art Xiamen will be Fujian Province’s first international art fair and organizers hope it will rival Art Beijing, the capital’s established fair.

The announcement comes hot on the heels of the 7th Cross-straits (Xiamen) Cultural Industries Fair, an annual event that gathered officially sanctioned players in the cultural sector to champion collaborations between the mainland Chinese and Taiwanese art industries.

The island state of Taiwan is considered a rogue province by the Chinese government, which has tried to bring it back into the fold fostering closer economic ties—and more recently, cultural ties.

Fujian is the mainland Chinese province directly across the water from Taiwan and the two areas share a similar “Min Nan” language and culture. It is the gateway to China for Taiwanese business, but also a highly sensitive military zone.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has just returned from a week-long trip in Fujian, where he visited the Pingtan Comprehensive Experimental Zone, a special area that encourages cross-straits business cooperation.

The area is also slated to be the location of the Pingtan Art Museum, a man-made island that will house precious art and artefacts from mainland China and Taiwan, as a symbol of cross-straits relations.

Nurturing Cross-Straits Cultural Development

The new art fair can therefore be seen as yet another attempt to nurture cross-straits cultural development initiated by the mainland Chinese.

“This will be Fujian’s first large-scale professional art fair, aiming to become a hub for the Asian art trade,” says Luo Wenxuan, an entrepreneur and corporate strategy consultant serving as spokesperson for the Art Xiamen committee.

Luo told Chinese media that the fair will be an international event “with characteristics of southern Fujian and Taiwan.” 

“We will take the lessons learned by Art Beijing and bring in elements of Xiamen’s unique culture, to create a distinct style for our new art fair,” said Luo.

The fair will include five exhibition areas, each focusing on a different aspect of Fujian’s art market, including exhibits from auctioneers and art galleries. There will also be exhibitions of contemporary art from Fujian and a special “cross-straits art exhibition.”

Xiamen is touted by the Chinese media as the next art market hot spot in the country. Chinese auction houses including Poly AuctionHuachen Auction, and Hanhai Auction have already flocked to the southern province to take advantage of a burgeoning collecting scene.

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