Recently I have become fascinated with three posters I purchased from the Chinese Craft Centre in China Town. They seem quite bizarre to western eyes, featuring naked babies riding koi-carp and holding fruit. The man in the shop couldn't tell me alot about them, saying that they were just traditional posters, but I googled 'Chinese baby poster' and found more information.
"The New Year picture (nianhua 年画) was the most important influence on the propaganda posters produced by the Chinese Communist Party. Employing various elements of folk art and symbolism, these pictures catered to the tastes and beliefs in the countryside, expressing wishes for happiness and good luck. According to the Chinese nianhua specialist Wang Shucun, "During the New Year festival, more than 20 varieties of New Year prints would be stuck on the front gates, doors onto the courtyard, walls of a room, besides a room's windows, or on the water vat, rice cabinet, granary, or livestock fold. Colourful and floral prints would be
everywhere in the house to express the hopes and joy of the festival.""
Whilst walking in the Northern Quarter a friend and I also spotted an advert for an upcoming exhibition at the Richard Goodall Gallery of Maoist art."The Richard Goodall Gallery, on High Street in the Northern Quarter, is displaying the Maoist propaganda art until 7 April.
The collection of 30 art-works were produced from 1969 to one year after Deng Xiaoping’s incumbency in 1979, but some are representations of older eras as far back as the establishment of the People’s Republic in 1949.
To walk into the Gallery is to see the entire history of Chinese Communism documented all around you.
Gallery owner Richard Goodall says he’s been fascinated by the posters for ‘years and years’, even going so far as to enquire at the Chinese Embassy.
He got in touch with a Shanghai client who came to the UK to promote an upcoming exhibition in London.
“We have enlisted the help and expertise help and expertise of the finest art restorer in the country to remove the foxing and acid from the paper [and] having them linen backed which made them archivally safe and virtually as vibrant as the day they were printed,” Mr Goodall said."