Soaring into the sky above the Yangtze’s muddy waters, muscular skyscrapers and multi-span bridges dominate the skyline of modern Chongqing. Yet despite the ubiquity of slick glass façades and massive concrete infrastructure, Bohemian whimsy is flourishing in south-western China’s largest city. You just need to know where to look.
Home to a campus of the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute (SCFAI), one of China’s most prestigious art universities, Huangjueping District is Chongqing’s pre-eminent hotbed of creativity. And where better to express that creativity than on the sides of local buildings?
Extending over a kilometre from the local hospital to the 501 Art Warehouse, Tuya (“Graffiti”) Street is Huangjueping’s attention-grabbing artistic showcase. Hundreds of SCFAI students have transformed the walls and windows of apartment blocks here into a riot of colour, as unicorns, monkey-men, and three-eyed monsters stare down at passers-by. A collection of more intricate streetside portraits complements the visual smorgasbord.
With a growing number of galleries, Huangjueping is gradually developing a reputation to rival Beijing’s 798 Art District. Check out the wall art, move onto the more serious contemporary art studios of the 501 space (a former tobacco factory), before rounding things off with a latte in a local coffee shop. You might even catch the doodle bug yourself.
501 Art Warehouse
Huangjueping 126, Jiulongpo District, Chongqing
Text and photos by Daniel Allen
This article is published in the October 2017 issue of Blue Wings.