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Interviews with Nine Chinese Artists: Narrative research on Chinese art education during the 20th century


Interviews with Nine Chinese Artists: Narrative research on Chinese art education during the 20th century

Liu, Wan Cen (2011) Interviews with Nine Chinese Artists: Narrative research on Chinese art education during the 20th century. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

Text (application/pdf)
Final_1_Liu_PhD_S2012_.pdf - Accepted Version


My thesis is a narrative inquiry based on the stories of the art learning of nine Chinese artists from different generations. their art learning is considered a lifelong activity to be analyzed. My study, an analysis of this lifelong activity, focuses on how different social and cultural contexts affect individuals’ art learning when they first learn art, as they learn to become artists, and as they continue to learn art as artist. In order to understand the process of their art learning comprehensively, I have divided their art learning into three types: formal, non-formal and life art learning. The purpose of my study is to analyze how artists have learned art and how society has influenced their art learning in the past half century in China.
Based on the analysis of my interviews with the artists, I learned that, during the 20th century, Chinese art education in elementary and secondary schools did not play a primary role in relation to these artists’ art learning. Furthermore, in art classes after 1949, western style drawing has been dominant in the art classrooms of elementary and secondary schools in China. Students followed the adults’ ‘concept’ of realism instead of pursuing their own self-expressions. Individual originality and aesthetics were often ignored. I also found that the social and cultural contexts in which the interviewees lived deeply influenced their individual art learning. What and how they learned in their formal, non-formal and life learning differed depending on the economical, political, and cultural contexts. Moreover, according to the experiences of the participants in this study, school art education in China ignored the visual experiences in the everyday lives of students. The opportunities for informal and formal learning were generally distinct. It is important to note that although there were only three female artists in the study, they had fewer opportunities to learn art outside of school with their peer groups while all the male artists had such opportunities. However, the three female artists received non-formal art learning because one’s mother was an artist, one had a professional art tutor and one had opportunities to make art when she worked in the army. Finally, I found that the participants’ experiences of informal art learning played a more important role in their artistic creation than their formal training did.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Fine Arts > Art Education
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Liu, Wan Cen
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Program:Art Education
Date:20 October 2011
Thesis Supervisor(s):Pariser, David
ID Code:36032
Deposited By: WAN CEN LIU
Deposited On:20 Jun 2012 15:51
Last Modified:05 Nov 2016 02:02
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