Master of Impressionism – Claude Monet at the Shanghai K11 Art Mall
8 March – 15 June
Claude Monet, one of the founding fathers of French Impressionist painting, is one of France’s most adored artists, captivating audiences the world over with his paintings including the famous Water Lillies project which consumed a large period of his life. From 8 March until 15 June, visitors will have the opportunity to see the first Monet exhibition held on the Chinese mainland. The exhibition will be held at the Shanghai K11 Art Mall on Huaihai Road, a mall that adorns its walls with the artwork created by local artists. The Mall itself is an interesting venue with a glass dome area and hanging trees, as well as the obligatory high-end Western clothing brand shops. The venue is also tantalisingly close to the fashionable Xintiandi district, a popular restaurant and bar hotspot.
Flemish Masters Head to Pudong
12 March – 2 June
Until the 1990s the land on the other side of the Huangpo River, opposite historical Puxi, was just marshy farmland, but today the area known as Pudong is the international heartland of the city. Pudong is home to most of the skyscrapers that now dominate the Shanghai skyline and is an area of economic and cultural importance. This exhibition brings some of history’s finest Flemish painters to this modern part of the city. The exhibition showcases the work of Rubens and Van Dyck, part of a collection belonging to the Prince of Liechtenstein. The event includes 100 oil paintings, tapestries and prints showcasing some of the best of Belgian art, forming the Flemish school of painting. The artworks will be unveiled at the prestigious China Art Museum, between 12 March and 2 June.
Nanhui Peach Blossom Village Festival
March – April
Held every year in Nanhui since 1991, the Nanhui Peach Blossom Village is Shanghai’s largest peach blossom garden, and, in fact, the biggest in eastern China at over 3,300 hectares. Situated near to the East China Sea, visitors will encounter charming coastal towns and scenic views full of peach blossoms. The blossoms are straight out of a fairytale story with pure white, soft pink and romantic red dancing on each stem and branch. Some of the blossoms are even multicoloured! This is a great venue for families or the solo traveller alike, with a picnic and grill area and a traditional carnival to rouse the local community in celebration. Many of the locals will even open their houses to welcome visitors inside during this beautiful, timeless seasonal event, which runs from mid-March until mid-April.
Shanghai Acrobatic Show
Performing in the city’s Shanghai Centre throughout April, the Shanghai Acrobatic Show is a seamless arts show and an acrobatic display of aerial excellence. The troupe have performed all over the world, and visitors will gasp in amazement as the performers balance, juggle, contort, bounce, and ‘fly’ their bodies around the impressive stage. Each stunning performance has been perfectly honed and choreographed down to the last detail and the evening is a mix of excitement and wonder. The Shanghai Centre itself was one of the first co-building projects between China and the United States, opening in 1990 to much acclaim. The building was designed by American architect John Portman and his team and was a major talking point when it opened, containing a theatre, apartments, offices, shops and a luxurious five-star hotel.
Shanghai Acrobatic Show, Shanghai Centre, West Office Tower, Suite 710, 1376 Nanjing Road West, Shanghai, PR China, +86 21 6279 8614, Tickets: +86 21 6279 8948
Shanghai Spring International Music Festival
28 April – 18 May
One of the longest continuously running festivals in China, the Shanghai Spring International Music Festival is the ultimate showcase of Shanghai’s musical and dance scene. The festival began in 1959 and was known as the Shanghai Music Dance Exhibition Month, but a year later it took on the Shanghai Spring mantle it still proudly wears today. The springboard for many famous and successful Chinese performers, numerous productions have gone on to be popular throughout China and the world. These include the classical music masterpiece Ode to Butterfly Lovers and the enchanting dance of The White Haired Girl, the latter of which was turned into a powerful black and white feature film in 1950 and is one of the first releases from the People’s Republic of China. This is the perfect opportunity to experience an exciting cross-section of Shanghainese culture, both old and new.
Shanghai Spring, 238 West Yan’an Road, Shanghai, PR China, +86 21 6249 8314
Jiang Zhi’s System Failure Exhibition at Yanlord Binjiang
This solo exhibition is a showcase of Chinese artist Jiang Zhi, one of China’s finest contemporary artists. He has won numerous awards for his work, including the sought after Chinese Contemporary Art Award. Zhi has been actively creating pieces since 1997, moving onto his own first solo exhibition in 1999; he is a graduate from the China Academy of Fine Arts in Hangzhou and uses his talents in paint, photography, video and visual displays that make the viewer stop and think. This latest exhibition focuses on his recent System Failure, a selection influenced by glitches found on a computer screen. The exhibition was organised by the Aqua Arts Foundation, who act to provide new platforms for visual art in Shanghai, and the Lujiazui financial district in particular. The event is being held at Yanlord Binjiang and concludes at the end of May.
Chongming Island: Cycling Race & Lavender Festival
May – June
No visit to Shanghai is complete without a trip to the countryside. Chongming Island is one of three large alluvial islands embedded in the Yangtze River Delta and is the third largest island in China. Its rich, rural culture and history make it an interesting off-the-beaten-track place to visit. Previously accessible by ferry, road links completed in 2009 now make Chongming far more accessible to tourists. May is a great time to visit the island and enjoy two exciting events. The first is the Tour of Chongming Island World Cup, which is an annual nail-biting cycling race that is due to take place on 18 May, and draws competitors from all over the world. This is closely followed by the 4th Chongming Lavender Festival, due to take place on 20 May, allowing visitors to enjoy fields of purple, and a series of family friendly and romantic lavender related events until 20 June. There are also other interesting attractions to see on the island, including the beautiful Dongtan Wetland Park, with its peaceful reeds and boardwalks, and the intriguing Yingdong Ecological Village, which is an escapist, relaxing countryside hamlet.
Classic Sound of Shanghai – Shanghai Hailin Jazz Orchestra
The Shanghai Hailin Jazz Orchestra is an exciting Shanghainese enterprise that aims to bring the pleasure of jazz to the general populace of the city. The leaders of this group are the established Chinese singer Ji Xiao Lan and popular jazz artist Zheng De Ren. The orchestra is very experienced and has performed many times, notably at the Shanghai Oriental Art Center where they have tallied up more than 60 glorious performances. During a visit to Hong Kong, the orchestra was highly praised and delivered world-class performances on 30 occasions. This forthcoming performance will be held at the Shanghai Oriental Art Center on 1 August, known as the Weekend Jazz Lounge 2014.
Shanghai International Arts Festival
September – October
This fascinating event covers all aspects of art throughout the city in a series of celebrations in the run-up to autumn. The Shanghai International Arts Festival is the single festival hosted by the government’s Ministry of Culture and organised by the Municipal People’s Government of Shanghai. The festival focuses on delivering both classical and contemporary arts to the fore and includes music, dance, drama, and arts from both China and international origins. The event is a month of live performances including the above, plus magical exhibitions for visitors to enjoy. The final performance culminates in the Shanghai Biennale, an event that promotes Shanghai as the cultural gateway to Western arts and as a global face for the cultural heart of Shanghai.
Shanghai International Music Fireworks Festival
September – October
This exciting event is the perfect show with which to end the summer and welcome in the autumnal months. Established in 2000, the Shanghai International Music Fireworks Festival celebrates both Chinese and international cultures, taking inspiration and blending them into a dazzling array of light, colour and sound. Euphoric passion and a fantastic display of fireworks culminate in the creation of an evening that visitors won’t be able to forget. Each year, the festival runs from September to the first week of October with large audiences attending every spellbinding show. The international flair shines through as six groups from around the world compete for Gold, Silver and Copper Awards based on performance and style.