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Art show puts ancient road back on the map
10.17.2015

    An abandoned community hospital on Yuyuan Road in Changning District was given a new lease of life yesterday when it reopened as a temporary art gallery.

    Thanks to a collaboration between Shanghai-based Latvian artist Zane Mellupe and local authorities, the former traditional Chinese medicine clinic will host a weeklong exhibition of paintings, sculptures and installations by foreign artisans, all of whom live in the city.

    Mellupe said the aim of the show — which runs until October 24 and is free to enter — is to make art more accessible to local people.

    “I’ve organized several art shows in Shanghai over the years and the thing I enjoy most is talking to visitors about what the exhibits mean to them,” she told Shanghai Daily in fluent Mandarin.

    The collection on show at the former hospital is an eclectic mix that reflects the artists’ views on a range of philosophical and social issues, she said.

    The exhibition occupies the ground floor of the three-story building, which dates back more than a century.

    The hospital was relocated in 2010, but the property’s medical past is still very much in evidence, with the artwork dotted among the former clinics and dispensaries.

    Mellupe, who has lived in Shanghai for more than a decade, said that the district government agreed to let her use the building as part of its own efforts to breathe new life into Yuyuan Road.

    Dating back to 1911 — the final year of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) — it runs through both Changning and Jing’an districts and was once home to many rich and famous people. In more recent decades, however, it has become increasingly rundown.

    “The road is one of the oldest in the city, with many historic buildings where great scholars and politicians once lived,” said Yu Hao, Party chief of the Changning Planning and Land Authority.

    As well as the art event at the hospital, an exhibition that tells the history of area is ongoing at 1065 Yuyuan Road.

    “The event will run until the end of the year,” Yu said.