Picturing A Beautiful Path
Wang Yue even had a name for her prospective artworks: “Meitu”, a Chinese word that can mean either Picture or Beautiful Path. Her tree hole pictures would be a beautiful path to another, cleaner, brighter world… IF she received approval to create them, that is. Dealing with China’s educational and governmental bureaucracy is never simple, and Wang Yue had to deal with first one, than the other.
(image via: NBD)
Even before tackling the bureaucratic juggernaut, Wang Yue needed to get her parents on board with what she was doing. A university education costs time and money in China, neither of which are worth frittering away. She was able to win over her parents, however, and that gave her the confidence to convince her professor, her school administrator, and finally the local Chengguan (City Urban Administrative and Law Enforcement Bureau).
Established in 2001 for all of China’s large urban centers, Chengguan personnel oversee city appearance bylaws among other street-level concerns but have garnered a reputation for abusing their power. If either the public at large or governmental high-ups should give Wang Yue’s artworks the thumbs-down, that could reflect poorly on the Chengguan who might seek redress from Wang Yue and Dalian Polytechnic University.
Kudos to the Shijiazhuang Chengguan, then, for going out on a limb (so to speak) and giving Wang Yue the thumbs-up to proceed with her project. Her first step was to enlist her fellow student and best friend Li Yue to act as both her photographer and official spokesperson. Next was selecting several of Shijiazhuang’s more popular tree-lined avenues to be subject of Wang Yue’s ex-tree-me makeover.