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789 pronounced “chee joe bah” is Beijing’s artist colony and modern art district. From its inception, like everything else in China, has grown exponentially at a tremendous pace. As a modern art district, 789 is now rivaling those in France, Spain, and America.

789 used to be a large factory complex during Mao’s China in charge of making light posts. In some of the exhibits you can still see old factory slogans painted in red on the walls. Now 789 has developed into an indoor and outdoor art facility, allowing Beijing and Chinese artists to present their work in a common area.

I believe modern art is open for personal interpretation so I took pictures of some paintings and sculptures that I found interesting. I will allow you to define the meaning for yourself. My favorite artist at 789 was named Ahn Doolin. I actually got to meet the strange fellow and took a picture with him outside of his exhibit. He is the guy dressed like a 70’s pimp. We talked some prices about his art, but he is out of my price range for now. I took some pictures of a few of his paintings as well and you can see why I like them so much. Ahn combines stark battle scenes with florescent colors, but only names his paintings after the season which they are in. For instance, there is a painting of a sunrise over the sea as it hits the shore of an ancient sea shore battle titled “Winter Time.” Another titled “Friends in Summer” shows two knights dueling in front of fluorescent stained glass.

789 is an interesting area and shows China’s steps towards modernization and presents art that is uncommon to Chinese culture. There was so much to see that it was impossible to do it in one day so I plan on heading back soon…maybe to buy some of Ahn’s paintings.

Graffiti of person being shot in head, blood hearts read “I will forever love you.”

Jordan J. Foley

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