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Upcoming festival highlights young artists
2020-09-27 
A scene from Nhozagri’s solo exhibition Mouth-Eye-Qi-Foot-Mouth held in 2019 at the Space Station Gallery in Beijing. [Photo/Courtesy of Nhozagri]

Exhibitions, movies, lectures, gifts and workshops. Art aficionados can enjoy all these at once from Oct 1-5 in Beijing's 798 Art district.

That's what the YES! Art Festival, a youth-oriented event, promises.

With "to express everything freely through art" as its mission statement, the festival will deliver festival-goers a variety of exhibitions, screenings, artist booths, workshops, and art talks, organizers say.

Nearly 100 young artists of various genres will bring their works, including zines, illustrations, ceramics and toys, to the M WOODS Art Museum.

20-odd youth-oriented brands and art institutes will show up at the five-day event, according to festival organizer Between Islands Contemporary Art, a Beijing-based creative art brand specializing in promoting fledgling artists as well as developing and managing crossover art projects.

About 100 young artists from around the country will be featured at the YES! Art Festival, held between Oct 1 and 5 at the M WOODS Art Museum in Beijing. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

"We built the festival as a platform for young artists," said Wei Junzhu, a co-founder of BICA.

Wei and her team have observed many young artists, especially art academy students or fresh graduates, have great difficulty in finding offline platforms to showcase their art. Many have quit because of a lack of such platforms.

The festival was held for the first time in July in East China's Hangzhou, as the pandemic began to wane in the country. The three-day event featured more than 100 artists and brands.

Encouraged by the success of the first attempt, barely a month later the organizer announced they would hold the second edition during the National Day holiday in Beijing, and has since received 327 applications from artists, galleries and brands from around the country.

Artist Gao Muyan, who will have a solo show at the Yes! Art Festival, is known for making a series of fake utensils. [Photo/Courtesy of Gao Muyan]

"As applicants are numerous but space is rather limited, we had a very hard time deciding on the artists who we wanted to present," Wei said, talking about the biggest challenge for her curatorial work for the Beijing festival.

However, artists who made the cut have bodies of work big enough to assume a distinct style, the curator said.

"If an artist's portfolio is like a series, it means that he or she has developed their own style and has come of age as an artist," said Wei, who has invited five emerging artists to arrange their own solos at the art museum.

Nhozagri and Milei-RayDog, are two of the five artists who will have solos at the festival.

Nhozagri, a Beijing-based artist, is known for creating the "Super Nhozagri Kingdom", a fantasy world filled with "mollusk citizens" — grotesque, imaginary creatures made into plush dolls highly sought-after among fans.

Three cartoon figures created by Milei-RayDog, a Douyin-based cartoonist famous for her Ray Girls videos. [Photo/Courtesy of Milei-RayDog]

Milei-RayDog, a cartoonist whose Ray Girls videos feature herself transforming into cartoon figures, has garnered more than half a million followers on short video sharing platform Douyin.

Along with the solo exhibitions, the curator said another must-see part of the fest will be the screenings of nearly 20 indie shorts, with 10 from the 2020 FIRST International Film Festival, an annual event showcasing talented young filmmakers.

There also will be five themed exhibits staged by contemporary galleries, such as the Urumqi-based Gaotai Gallery, and indie art brands such as Monday OFF, a self-publishing brand focusing on youth-related topics.

Like the Hangzhou fest, the Beijing event will host booths showcasing artworks and creative products from those featured brands. "Visitors can talk to the artists in person and take home some of their pieces that they find interesting," Wei said.

If you go:

Ticket: 60~118 yuan ($8.80-$17.31)

11:00 am- 8:00 pm, Oct 1-5, M WOODS Art Museum, D-06, 798 Art District, No.2 Jiuxianqiao Road, Chaoyang district, Beijing 北京市朝阳区酒仙桥路 2号 798艺术区 D-06, 木木美术馆

The YES! Art Festival, to be held between Oct 1 and 5 at the M WOODS Art Museum in Beijing, features five art workshops, five art talks and nearly 20 short films. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]
A poster for the YES! Art Festival. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]
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