Another long day of meetings but this time mainly in Xi'an's city centre. Interesting time at Xi'an Academy of Fine Arts, one of China's top art colleges. Turned out that today was entrance exams day. Thousands of students from all over Shaanxi Province have poured into Xi'an to take exams that will determine whether they get into art colleges throughout the country - not just Xi'an. The sheer volume of them was amazing.
I really felt for them as they disembarked from coaches bedecked with good luck banners ("Yulin Students Go!!") and trudged nervously into the Academy, each one carrying a little box of paints & brushes, a plastic pot and A2 sketchpads. This was the oil painting exam and everyone has to paint the same subject which is revealed when the exam kicks off - very much about technique rather than creativity. I think there are separate exams for sketching, sculpture etc.
We had lunch with the faculty in a smoke-filled restaurant and on emerging into clearer air were confronted with the sight of thousands of parents waiting at the gates for their loved ones and making the traffic even worse than it normally is (which is saying something).