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'Bad Monkey' and His Art Market in China's Chongqing

By SHIHAN YANGICHONGQING|Jun 21,2022

A vibrant art-sharing platform called “Bad Monkey Art Market” was founded by a New Zealander who goes by the moniker “Bad Monkey” in the Jiefangbei Business District, Chongqing.

His real name is unknown. He prefers to be called “Bad Monkey.” By establishing the Bad Monkey Art Market, he aims to make art grow like a vine in every corner of Chongqing and let people savor a fresh breath of art.

“Bad Monkey” was a recent guest DJ at a local Live House. (Photo provided to iChongqing)

“Bad Monkey” from New Zealand to Chongqing

“Bad Monkey” comes from Auckland, the largest city in New Zealand. He first came to China in 1998, when he met the love of his life — a beautiful, gentle, and kind-hearted girl from Beijing. From then on, he fell deeply in love with China. He came to Chongqing in early 2020. At first, he was not used to life in Chongqing, which was a completely different world from New Zealand. When he was in Auckland, he lived on a sparsely populated hill, while Chongqing was bustling, lively, and full of urban buzz.

As time passed, he found a lovely side of Chongqing, enjoying the sunrise over Nanshan Mountain every morning, and the Yangtze River Cableway ran between mountains and buildings. Local talented artists who share his passion for music also surprise him occasionally. “Every time I communicate with them, I get a collision of ideas and an inexhaustible source of creative inspiration.”

His friend told him that local artists were eager for a platform to display their works and share their ideas. He held that art could be found everywhere, not necessarily in concert halls, theaters, or art galleries. Sometimes just a small stool and a few people who love art can create an artistic ambiance in positive communication. So he came up with the idea of starting an “Art Market.”

The art market produces “chemical reactions”

On May 8 this year, “Bad Monkey Art Market” officially kicked off. Accompanied by music composed by “Bad Monkey,” a group of young artists showcased their works, shared their artistic ideas, and inspired each other at the former site of the China-UK Liaison Office in Jiefangbei.

“Bad Monkey” shared his favorite music at the marketplace. (Photo provided to iChongqing)

Passers-by stopped and cast curious glances, including the elderly, young couples, and “Bangbang men,” the traditional physical laborers of Chongqing.

To the surprise of “Bad Monkey,” an increasing number of locals were attracted to the market. They danced with musicians, communicated with artists, and purchased artists’ works. “It’s like a chemical reaction, and people couldn’t help but be drawn to it. That’s exactly what I want to see!”

He hopes that more people will get to know the market and such a group of people who love art and are willing to share and disseminate it so that more people can embrace the beauty of art and contribute to the dissemination of art in our lives.

Every stall has a story

At the market, each artist has their own stall, and each stall has a touching story. For example, the two girls who make pottery will go to the mountain every morning to dig fresh soil as raw materials to give the pottery works a special touch.

At the “Bad Monkey” market, citizens passing by danced happily with the artists. (Photo provided to iChongqing)

The owner of a plant printing and dyeing studio likes to collect leaves and add the colors of nature to the dyes, which is not only environmentally friendly but also aesthetic and artistic.

Independent photographer Lu Jinjin displayed his photos of Chongqing at the market. An old lady bought a dozen of pictures and said, “This is the city I love so much! Thanks for catching it in the photo!”

The bi-weekly market has been held three times, with different artists appearing in each session, covering such fields as photography, pottery, fabrics, painting, and sculpture. Bad Monkey said that more opportunities should be given to young people. “The future belongs to young people, and modern art needs young people to join in!”

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