Paola Voci is an Associate Professor at the University of Otago. She specialises in Chinese visual cultures, and, in particular, documentary, animation, and other hybrid digital video practices. She is the author of China on Video: Smaller-screen Realities (2010), a book that analyses and theorises light movies made for and viewed on computer and mobile screens, and coeditor of Screening China's Soft Power (2017), a book focussing on the role played by film and media in shaping China's global image.

Can the Creative Subaltern Speak? Dafen Village Painters, Van Gogh, and the Politics of ‘True Art’

Migrant workers’ artistic aspirations develop within the broader tension between Art as a high-brow, big-money, critically-endorsed global enterprise, and art as the creativity of the everyday. As shown by the case of Dafen village’s worker painters, in today’s China the creative subaltern has become the focus of celebratory state-promoted narratives and investments and, more critically, transnational media and academic investigations. However, despite this newly-acquired visibility, this kind of creative work remains largely excluded from global art circles, as well as the industry’s cash flow and critical appraisals, and continues to be defined by the condition of the artists as localised migrant workers.

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