The second Doumi ‘ao Contemporary Art Exhibition was commenced on 30th September 2021 in Doumi ‘ao Village, Songyang County, Zhejiang Province. The village is an ancient village rich with cultural gems, with more than 400 years of history. Recently the village resources have gradually lost their vitality and their resources have been underutilized due to the urbanization trend of young people.
The exhibition is part of an ongoing government effort for rural revitalization and protection of culture. The Songyang County government has started to implement the “One Hundred Artists Settled in Songyang Village Plan” in 2018 in an effort to slowly bring abandoned villages back to life. At present, the county has organized the preservation of 142 old houses, 63 houses and formally signed a contract with 60 artists to create a batch of art villages such as Doumi ‘ao Village. The first Doumi ‘ao International Contemporary Art Exhibition in 2019 hit national headlines and made local villagers see the hope of revitalization in their hometown.
Southern Life Community, participated in the exhibition by renovating an old house in Doumi ‘ao Village and transforming it into an exhibition hall. In this exhibition, they show the development history of their community over the past five years and make art installations using objects from their daily life. Other than being an exhibition space, the house will also serve as a working and living space for artists and other community members.
About the Southern Life Community
Southern Life Community is one of the first intentional communities in Mainland China. It is a community based on openness and sharing. We welcome visitors and residents from all over the world to join our way of life and co-create in working teams. We have always been committed to accommodating groups discriminated against by society including women, people with disabilities, farmers, and sexual minorities. We share the common view that we are friends no matter who we are. So our members often do not care about external image, skin color, gender, and other differences. We believe that there is no garbage in the world, only misplaced treasures. In our community, each of us has access to public resources and a vote. Everyone has the right to speak up during and initiate a meeting.
We have a wealth of crafts going on where women play an important role in this work. Men are often engaged in manual labor. However, people are able to freely explore what they want to do in our community. Our daily activities in the community over the years have been to build houses, farm fields, play music, make sculptures, and build bridges between people from all over the world. Through the daily processes of action, understanding and integration happen quietly.
By organizing and planning a large number of art activities every year, we try to make social integration truly happen through art. Through the beauty of art, beautiful moments where there is no difference between people often appear.
We believe that ecological civilization is the future. Ecological civilization is a civilization that embraces diversity. Nothing is absolutely bad, and every species has its meaning and value of existence, and its value and significance are balanced. With this in mind, we also engaged in ecosystem restoration and research and have restored 200 mu (1333+ square meters) of wetland in a nearby area over the past years.
Our community is made of new residents who are attracted to the countryside and want to settle here and also local people who have a passion for active social work to build their area. New residents who came have been paying attention to the countryside, they use their experience and understanding of city living and bring new perspectives and different possibilities to the local peoples’ daily life and work. There are also short-term residents who come for volunteering, research and engaging in different projects. Through interaction with different people coming from different backgrounds, local people get a fresh and different view of their daily life. Gradually, local people become more involved co-creation process of our community as organizers and co-sponsors of on-site projects and facilitating gentle integration of new residents with local conditions. With the gradual deepening of the relationship between new residents and local people, the formation of a common goal of sharing life and mutual assistance happens naturally.
The formation of our community will be an experimental sample of new rural communities in China, exploring the values of sharing and altruism, the worldview of peace and goodwill, and the consensus community with scientific and artistic thinking. Hopefully, we can be a long-term inspiration for the transformation of more villages.
Tang Guanhua, Founder of Souther Life Community
Tang Guanhua is the founder of Southern Life Community. He is an artist and an intentional community enthusiast. At one point in his life, he moved from the city to LaoShan mountain with his wife to experiment with self-sufficient lifestyles and built a self-sufficiency laboratory for youth to learn self-sufficient lifestyles. With such experience, he established AnotherLand NGO, the first and only NGO focusing on eco-community development in China. He organized China Intentional Community Summit two times and helped the Chinese people to understand the concept of an intentional community better by refining the term in the Chinese language. He is considered to be the founder of the China Intentional Community movement by the Chinese media. In 2015 he founded Southern Life Community, an experimental intentional community in southern China that attracted thousands of people to come and explore sustainable lifestyles. He has been awarded the China Post-85 Charity Figure Award, Top 10 Public Welfare Project Awards of People’s Daily, nominated for UNDP Equator Prizes, and shortlisted for the UN 2018 Young Champions of the Earth. His artworks have been collected by the Museum of Contemporary art Beijing, Alibaba Foundation, Tamera Peace Research and Educational Center, Federation of Damanhur, and much more.