Giant cartoon figures of typical Chinese style are almost everywhere to greet artists and visitors to the 16-day China Art Festival, which will open on September 28 in Nanjing, capital city of Jiangsu Province.
The inflated figures, Huanhuan and Xixi, meaning joy and happiness in Chinese, are the mascots of the art gala. The characters feature the famous folk craft of Wuxi and Suzhou, wearing colorful dragon and phoenix shaped caps, characteristic of folk art at the lower reaches of the Yangtze River.
Joy and Happiness are just part of the creative efforts of Nanjing, which were dramatically upgraded by its residents have over the past two years.
The city has spent 215 million yuan on constructing and renovating theaters, concert halls and exhibition centers. The environment around art halls have been improved with traffic streamlined, illegal buildings demolished and vendors dismissed.
Illegal and outdated advertisements have been replaced with new and more colorful banners, flags and mascots.
In total, more than 20 theaters in Nanjing and in sub-hosts of the event, Suzhou, Wuxi, Changzhou and Yangzhou, have been refurbished and constructed, costing more than 700 million yuan.
(People’s Daily 09/26/2000)