VINNYTSIA, Ukraine, June 6 (Xinhua) -- The international plein air art festival "The Best Artist," which kicked off here in central Ukraine on Tuesday, has its foundings inspired from one far away country: China.
During the festival, 18 artists chosen from a global pool of 540 candidates will spend 10 days painting the architecture and the landscape of Vinnytsia, located in the historic region of Podillia.
The art festival, now in its second year and hosted by the Ukrainian Culture Ministry, also features creative art workshops, experience sessions and seminars. About 30,000 people are expected to attend the festival.
Volodymyr Koziuk, a prominent Ukrainian artist, who has organized the festival, said he decided to hold a plein air festival in Ukraine after participating in a similar one in northwest China's Gansu Province.
"I was in Dunhuang two years ago and I was impressed," Koziuk told Xinhua. Dunhuang is where the world-renowned 1,600-year-old Mogao Grottoes are located.
He said he hopes that the "The Best Artist" will bring a new format of art festivals to Ukraine and serve as a means for artists from around the world to engage with one another.
"Our aim is to help them to better understand each other, to learn something from each other -- the behavior, the culture, the painting, and spread it in their countries," Koziuk said.
Qi Shaoting, 29, who represents China, said she sees the festival as an opportunity to share her culture with Ukraine and the world.
Qi, who moved to Ukraine together with her family in 1997, has established a school of Chinese art in the capital Kiev.
"I will draw my pictures using Chinese techniques, which will also contain features from European art," Qi told Xinhua.
The festival is also gathering world-famous art professionals. Wu Weishan, an outstanding Chinese sculptor and the director of the National Art Museum of China, is invited as a special guest judge of the competition. Zakir Sabirov, a Tajik artist who launched two new movements in international fine art, also participated in the festival.
Sabirov told Xinhua the festival in Ukraine is a good chance for him not only to engage with younger colleagues but also visit his long-time friends, whom he met in China.
"Four years ago I went to Qingdao, where my art movements were recognized and I was invited to Dunhuang. In Dunhuang, I met some Ukrainian friends, who invited me to Vinnytsia," Sabirov told Xinhua.
Maxim Filanchuk, head of the cultural department at the Vinnytsia City Council, voiced his hope that the festival would promote cultural cooperation between Vinnytsia and its Chinese partners.
"The artists and the patrons of art are coming here," Filanchuk told Xinhua. "This is a good step towards cooperation."