Couple create a park for creative pursuits

Wang Rongping and Wang Haixia spent a year to create their Lotus Leisure Art Park in Xinbang Town, now a gathering place for the city's art lovers. 
Couple create a park for creative pursuits
Ti Gong

Artists work on traditional ink paintings at the Lotus Leisure Art Park in Songjiang District’s Xinbang Town. Photographer Wang Rongping and painter Wang Haixia spent a year remodeling an old farmhouse at the heart of the new art park.

Artists Wang Rongping and Wang Haixia live and work at Lotus Leisure Art Park in Songjiang District’s Xinbang Town.

The couple spent a year remodeling an old farmhouse and the 15 mu (1 hectare) park now houses seven artists and is a frequent gathering place for Shanghai’s art lovers.

Wang Rongping is a photographer known for his images of Tibetan landscapes and culture, including in the Northern Tibet depopulated zone. His work has won public praise and a national ethnic minority photography silver award.

Wang Haixia sees painting as her supreme and lifelong pursuit. Her watercolor “A Vase Filled with Flowers” was selected for the Shanghai contemporary fine arts collection (1949-2009).

“After my retirement, I wanted to live a more free life in which I could chat with my friends while drinking tea. We found this quiet place at the recommendation of a friend and moved here,” Wang Rongping said.

To create the art park, the couple pulled up weeds, renovated cottages and built foot bridges over a pond. They also planted sims azaleas, flowers of the Tibetan Plateau.

“Xinbang is a town famous for its lotus flowers and we are a group of leisured artists, so we name the place Lotus Leisure Art Park,” Wang Rongping said.

Wang Haixia’s “Haixia Studio” is among the first batch of artist studios completed at the park. Its walls are decorated with her paintings, the shelves display tea sets she has designed and handbags made of coarse cloth collected from peasant families. Even the patterns on the cushions are her creations.

The park also includes studios for pottery, lacquer work, watercolor painting and photography, an art education room and the Lotus Leisure Art Gallery. Visitors can also experience tie-dyeing at the park.

“The oxidation process in tie-dyeing is so amazing and tie-dyeing is the art of uniqueness. Even the same person, using the same materials and adopting the same tying method, will create different works each time,” said Wang Haixia.

The park, which is devoted to supporting the creative work of artists from home and abroad, accepts reservations for visits.

It arranges activities and lessons for both children and adults. Visitors can learn to paint in watercolor, gouache and oil. They can also try embroidery, make fabric curtains, wind chimes, sachets and handbags. Lessons in photography can also be booked.

Couple create a park for creative pursuits
Ti Gong

Children with modelling clay at Lotus Leisure Art Park

Couple create a park for creative pursuits
Ti Gong

Works by female artists are on show at Lotus Leisure Art Gallery. 

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