Dafen Oil Painting Village, a peaceful enclave of art

Dafen is one of the biggest art factories worldwide where artists recreate all kinds of paintings for sale. Imitation works have made this art zone a famous tourist attraction in Shenzhen. The village is located close to Dafen metro station and very easy to find. A gigantic sculpture of a hand holding a painting brush welcomes everyone who is entering this old Hakka village and guides you the right direction.

The art zone once was set up by a Hong Kong businessman, who by then already had a business specializing in reproduction art in 1988. Many talented artists from all over China joined him. Today, Dafen hosts nearly 1100 galleries with over 8000 artists producing an astonishing number of paintings per year. Street after street, shops are selling oil paintings, watercolors, and embroidered paintings. One can find experts of impressionism, pop art, art nouveau et cetera. or others specialized in portraits or copycat of specific painters.


In recent years the industry has been facing economic troubles due to the decreasing purchasing power of their traditional customers. While in the past artists produced endless copies of paintings by the likes of Van Gogh, Monet and Picasso for their western clients, these days they have to adapt to the Chinese clients. The BBC just claimed that exports fell by more than half in the first half of last year alone after a collapse in western orders. Consequently, artists have been forced to adapt their work. Moreover, as more and more oil painting production bases emerge, competition in the industry is becoming intense from home and abroad. What makes Dafen still a special place to visit are its slew of orderly arranged oil painting workshops and the distinctive artistic atmosphere.


China, Guangdong Sheng, Shenzhen Shi, Longgang Qu, 龙岗大道与布沙路交汇处 邮政编码: 511700

Get Longgang metro line, get off at Dafen Station, and leave from Exit A1. Afterwards, walk south for about 328 yards (300 meters), and you will see Dafen Oil Painting.

Both tourists and locals should once discover this astonishing place in the east of Shenzhen The place offers a great diversity in art on about four square kilometers. One can meet people from all over the world coming there to marvel at or buy paintings. What is very remarkable is the accuracy of these paintings. An ordinary person could hardly recognize an original painting from one that is just inspired by it. As emphasized by the news, less people can afford art of well-known artists. Dafen allows every one to own a piece of art in the living room. For a few hundred Yuan artists also copy ones favorite piece of art. When insisting on quality it will cost a little more. What can also be found is a modern gallery exhibition of Dafen local painters and an old Qi Xing teahouse. Overall, a trip is worth and makes it possible to gaze a glimpse of the artistic mass-production. For the future it will be interesting to see further development of this peaceful enclave.

image copyrights : timeoutshanghai.com