• Artist: Lu Feng Qiao.
    Musical Note. Graceful Bearing (self-portrait).

  • Artists: Lu Feng Qiao and Song Yaohai.
    The Drawing Of Situ Mian. Our Artistic Life (self-portrait).

  • Artist: Zheng Shou Jiao.
    A Morning In Autumn. No Space (self-portrait).

  • Artist: Zhang Yi Sheng.
    Wrinkled Old Man. Penetrating Rays (self-portrait).

  • Artist: Yuang Hua Jiang.
    No Limits. No Limits (self-portrait).

  • Artist: Travis.
    Wu Wen Cai Copy. The Art-Seeker (self-portrait).

  • Artist: Su Qing Guang.
    Van Gogh Sunflower. Pursuit (self-portrait).

  • Artist: Pan Xu Chun.
    Roots, Birds. A Corner Of The Studio (self-portrait).

  • Artist: Ma Xian Shan.
    Splendid. Dream (self-portrait).

  • Artist: Huang Xing Yu.
    The Noblewoman. Huang Xing (self-portrait).

Regional Reproduction: Self-portraiture and Emerging Artistic Consciousness in Dafen


Dafen is a village surrounded by the thriving metropolis of Shenzhen, and the origin of most of the world’s reproduction oil paintings. In the popular imagination Dafen’s artists produce anonymous works for unknown customers, operating no differently than a faceless factory churning out counterfeits, replicas and nothing close to what would be considered art.

REGIONAL The Propeller Group productively collaborated with the otherwise commoditized community in Dafen by asking selected individuals, some for the first time, to imagine themselves in their professional medium. The final works show the technical, creative, and professional facets of the artists identities subsumed by the styles and relationships they maintain with specific famous artists. The hybrid result of original subject with derivative style comments on originality, global cultural production and REGIONAL’s The Propeller Group’s cooperation with emerging enterprise forms that are internationalizing the village.

The product of the collaboration are sets of images (seen below) comprising a digital photo of the artist in his studio, an indicative painting of their usual output and an original self-portrait. While the final works contain both the creative signature of the original masters and the emergent self-consciousness of the Dafen artists, it is equally important to note that they derived great fulfillment from using their talents freely, and were remunerated at a rate commensurate with the unique international nature of the project.

The series operates as a comment on iconicity in cultural reproduction and consumerism as well as posits strategies for enabling and activating creativity that would otherwise be absorbed by routine production. The works produced with the talent of DAFEN are part of a continuing series of our international collaborations that seek to engage and encourage untapped creative, cultural and economic opportunity around the world.

This project is a reproduction of a pre-existing project carried out by collaborative REGIONAL, in 2004.