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Tuesday, December 5, 2023

From Farm Tools to Art Tools: The Journey of Farmer-Painters in Xiaohe Town, China, to Prosperity and Success

ChinaFrom Farm Tools to Art Tools: The Journey of Farmer-Painters in Xiaohe Town, China, to Prosperity and Success


In Xiaohe town, located in Hunan province of Central China, more than 400 farmers are on a journey to prosperity through their paintings that are sold across Europe and Asia. Instead of using traditional farm tools, these farmers use pens and brushes to create beautiful artwork. Zhan Qiuming, a 53-year-old farmer, is the most famous farmer-painter in the town. He started painting in 2017 and has come a long way since then.

Zhan’s inspiration to take up painting came from the picturesque surroundings of his village. He was fascinated by the misty mountains and the glistening creek in his village, which prompted him to capture the beauty in his paintings. He began his journey by sketching lines and colors, gradually progressed to copying landscape paintings, and finally, he started drawing landscapes and fields in his hometown. He dedicated more than three years to develop his painting skills and improve his techniques.

Zhan’s journey is a testament to the power of hard work and dedication. His love for his hometown and the beautiful scenery surrounding it has not only provided him with a source of inspiration, but it has also given him an opportunity to showcase his talent to the world. He is one of many farmers in the town who have found a new way to supplement their income and secure their financial future. Through their paintings, these farmers have opened up a new path to success.

The success of these farmer-painters is a perfect example of how a little creativity and dedication can lead to significant accomplishments. The newfound wealth and prosperity brought by their artwork have not only brought financial stability but have also helped to elevate the status of farmers in their community. By pursuing their passion for painting, they have broken the traditional barriers and proved that anyone can achieve success by following their dreams.

According to Zhan Qiuming, a well-known farmer-painter from Xiaohe town in Central China, the secret to painting lies in pen-holding postures, techniques, and strength. Although he was a farmer who had used hoes for decades, he decided to learn how to paint in 2017 using government poverty-alleviation funds.

In the same year, the town invited painters and college art students to teach farmers how to paint, and the merchants underwrote the paintings. Zhan, who was living on farming and part-time jobs to feed his elderly parents in their 90s and his son in primary school, seized this opportunity to improve his family’s financial situation.

Learning how to paint was not an easy task for Zhan. In the beginning, he found it challenging to control the paintbrush, which felt heavier than a hoe. He struggled with knowing when to stop painting and how to add more strength to the brush when necessary. After one month of training, he had only learned how to draw lines.

However, Zhan did not give up on his newfound passion. He continued to learn by taking online courses and practicing his painting skills. Over the years, his technique improved, and he progressed from copying landscape paintings to drawing landscapes and fields in his hometown.

Currently , Zhan’s paintings sell for nearly 700 yuan ($102) each, which has brought financial stability to his family. Through his dedication and hard work, Zhan has not only found a way to supplement his income, but he has also gained recognition as a talented artist. His success is a testament to the power of perseverance and the transformative impact of government-led poverty alleviation programs.

Zhan, a farmer-painter from the town of Xiaohe in Liuyang city, spends most of his days painting in his studio. He paints for over 20 days a month and earns almost 4,000 yuan from his art. This is an impressive achievement for someone who had never thought his art would take him beyond his hometown.

Zhan is not the only farmer-painter in Xiaohe. There are now 460 farmer-painters and six studios in the town. Their paintings have been sold in more than 10 countries, including Singapore and Spain. The sales revenue from these paintings has reached 20 million yuan, which has helped 42 registered poor households in the town get out of poverty.

Just a few years ago, Xiaohe was known for having the highest proportion of poor people in Liuyang city. However, the town has turned its fortunes around by developing farmer paintings and rural tourism. The town now attracts more than 300,000 tourists a year, providing employment opportunities for its residents.

Despite the success of his art, Zhan remains humble. He has never left his hometown and never thought that his paintings would be sold abroad. Zhan is constantly inspired by the beauty of his village and its surroundings. After finishing one painting, he immediately begins to conceive another. He has a new project in mind, which he has named The Creek on the Clouds. It will be a painting that captures the contours of the mountains and creeks in his village and portrays the happy days they are now experiencing.

The success of the farmer-painters in Xiaohe is a testament to the power of creativity and hard work. Through their art, they have helped to lift their community out of poverty and attract visitors to their town. The story of Zhan and his fellow farmer-painters in Xiaohe is a remarkable one. Their dedication to their art has not only brought them personal success but has also helped their community to prosper.
They have shown that with a bit of innovation and determination, even the most challenging situations can be overcome. Their story is an inspiration to us all, and a reminder that our dreams are within reach if we are willing to work hard and pursue them with passion.
The impact of their work can be seen in the transformation of Xiaohe from a town with a high proportion of poverty to a thriving tourist destination.

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