【Minsheng Workshop】 Zheng Bo’s Art Project: Practice of Drawing Weeds

Tutor: Solar Jiao
Date: Saturday November 27, 2011
Time: 14:00-15:30
Meeting place: Outside of Sun Ke Villa, Panyu Road 60, Changning District


  • For the public health and safety, the event requires real-name registration.
  • Please bring your ID to the meeting point outside Sun Ke Villa.
  • Please wear a face mask the whole time during your visit. If you are experiencing a fever, cough, or short of breath, please understand that admission will not be granted.
  • Please arrive 20 minutes before the start of the event.
  • Reservation is required. To purchase tickets, please scan the QR code at the end of this article.

★All materials used in the workshop will be provided by Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum on the day of the workshop.

This image is provided by artist and Edouard Malingue Gallery

When we think of cities, we think of lined skyscrapers, streets filled with traffic, parks of all sizes, and bustling crowds. The exhibition “Meditations on the Urban Spectacles” co-organized by Shanghai Minsheng Art Foundation, Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum, and Shanghai Vanke, is on view in Sunke Villa, a preserved historic building in Shanghai. Through the situational narrative constructed within the exhibited art works, including photography, installation, multimedia works by numerous artists and architect groups, “Meditations on the Urban Spectacles” invites the audience and artists to discuss the relationship between contemporary art and the urban environment. As Wang Yiquan, curator of this exhibition said, “these works may not be magnificent trees, but seeds with life and fun that grows in our hearts.” In Zheng Bo’s perspective, nature is an extended sphere that facilitates radical thinking and experiments on the equal future for all species. As a witness to the dramatic changes in China, he has been working on socially and ecologically relevant socially engaged art projects since 2013, entering history and reality from the perspective of marginalized people and marginal plants. In recent years, the artist has made sketching weeds his daily practice, using tools and actions to build a more emotional, desirable and empathetic response to plants and other non-human species.

“Inspired by the Taoism opinion on different species, I want to make my workshop and exhibition focus meditate more on the equality among species and ecology.” Said Zhengbo.

This image is provided by artist Zhang Bo


This image is provided by artist Zhang Bo

According to Roin Wall Kimmerer, ecologist and scientist, “To be native to a place we must learn to speak its languages.” We live on Earth, but we have forgotten its language. “Practice of Drawing Weeds” is a session of cultivating life through portraying weeds. The artist Zheng Bo, who explores the interaction between society and ecology, has held several workshops in Hong Kong, China and around the world.

From 2018-2019, Zheng Bo led workshop participants to visit different places in Hong Kong to observe and draw weeds, and to re-look at modern society from the perspective of weeds.

While we talk about life in virtual reality, many people are already living virtually in real life. Nowadays, we who live in the city have been used to controlling everything: from the indoor temperature to the outdoor views. We have the hallucination that we are truly the center of the world, ignoring the surrounding creatures and the fact that “Our garden must connect. Our garden is non-toxic. Our garden creates perceptions and sensations. Our garden has space and time for wilderness. Our garden generates Discovery. We are animals, insects, water, air, rocks, flowers, plants, microbes, electricity, weather, earth, sky, cosmic, and sometimes human.”

Zheng Bo’s solo exhibition “Dao is in Weeds” held in Kyoto City University of Arts Art Gallery, 2019. Viewers can use paper and pen to portray the pteridophyte in the exhibition.

This workshop invites participants to temporarily get out from the high energy consumption life, put down phones and Internet, and walk quietly on Xinhua Street in downtown Shanghai. They will also search for a weed in a street corner, sit down and spend some time with it. Through life drawing, an action that demands attention and patience, we may see life again, and participate in a public topic that is not as easy as it seems.

What does Zheng Bo botanical comrade tree want? October 24, 2020
This image is provided by Gropius Bau. Photographer: Laura Fiorio

“Practicing Drawing Weeds” is a beginning exercise to return to Earth. The workshop will lead the viewers to slow down their pace in the midst of this ‘international city,’ let go of their daily rhythm and focus to look for the weeds between the cracks, and to perceive the power beyond us. In the same vein, we can look into the present moments in face of ecological threats to understand how we can communicate and cooperate with all living things on Earth so as to create a Good Anthropocene. In this workshop, it doesn’t matter if you draw well or not. The goal is to look at the nuanced connection in the city with a holistic perspective, and to rediscover our “familiar strangers.” Together we will strengthen our feelings for art and life in the scattered community space.


“Don’t rush to ask the weeds’ name,
Spend some time with it quietly first.
Don’t be satisfied just by knowing its name,
As if you know it well by knowing its name.
Do you know the new neighbour well,
Just by knowing this neighbour’s name?
After you spend enough time with it,
You naturally will know its character.”

Workshop Schedule

1.  Gathering 14:00-14:15
Meet at the meeting point. Explain the workshop protocol and distribute the tools.
  Walking and Talking to Weeds 14:15-15:00
Search for weeds, sit down and observe its details. Feel it with heart and draw.
  Discussion 15:00-15:30
Share each other’s feelings about “practicing drawing weeds” as well as the understandings of art and life.


Please turn on the airplane mode and remain silent.
Please follow the guidance of the staff. Be aware of the traffic and stay away from dangerous places.
Please dress appropriately in order to walk easily. Bring your thermos bottle and stay warm.
The practice does not happen overnight. Every day, you can connect with other beings from seemingly simple practices, from the smallest of things.

About the Artist

Zheng Bo

Zheng Bo (born in 1974) is an artist, writer, and teacher, committed to socially and ecologically engaged art. He currently lives and works in Lantau Island, Hong Kong. He investigates the past and imagines the future from the perspectives of marginalized communities and marginalized plants. He grows weedy gardens, living slogans, eco-queer films, and wanwu workshops to cultivate ecological wisdom beyond the Anthropocene extinction.
His works are in the collections of Power Station of Art in Shanghai, Hong Kong Museum of Art, Singapore Art Museum, and Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. Solo exhibitions in 2021 include:
Wanwu Council, Gropius Bau, Berlin; You are the 0.01%, Schering Stiftung, Berlin; Life is hard. Why do we make it so easy?, Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden, Hong Kong. He participated in Liverpool Biennial (2021), Yokohama Triennale (2020), Manifesta (2018), Taipei Biennial (2018), and Shanghai Biennial (2016).
Zheng Bo studied with Douglas Crimp and received his PhD from the Graduate Program in Visual & Cultural Studies, University of Rochester. He taught at China Academy of Art from 2010 to 2013, and currently teaches at the School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong, where he leads the Wanwu Practice Group.

Shanghai Minsheng Art Foundation

Founded on September 21, 2010, the Shanghai Minsheng Art Foundation is an art foundation donated by China Minsheng Bank, adhering to the public welfare philosophy and social and cultural core of China Minsheng Bank. Since its establishment, the foundation has funded the Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum and Beijing Minsheng Museum, and donated funds to establish the Shanghai 21st Century Minsheng Art Museum and the Minsheng Culture and Art Center in Hangzhou, to better meet the needs of the general public for art and culture, and to expand its social function of "improving public cultural literacy and strengthening local and domestic cultural exchanges." The Foundation has also supported a number of academic and cultural projects, including the China Academy of Art's 'Minsheng Art History' scholarship, projects related to the Wu Zuoren International Foundation of Fine Art, and the Chinese edition of the TEFAF Art Market Report 2014, which has been widely received by the industry. In addition, the Foundation has played an important role in accepting and donating and using Minsheng Bank's public welfare donations and managing the public welfare assets of Minsheng Art Organization.

Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum

Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum was established by the China Minsheng Bank for the purpose of promoting contemporary art and culture. Building a world-class museum is part of the corporate responsibility platform of the China Minsheng Bank in a mission of "bringing art to the public, bringing people into the realm of art."

MA+ Minsheng Art Empowerment Project

“Minsheng Art + Empowerment Project (MA+)” is a public welfare brand for the field of culture and art initiated by China Minsheng Bank based on its social responsibility and cultural ideals. "MA+” tries to make culture and art cross borders, allowing artists and designers to directly intervene in the artistic upgrading and transformation of different communities, creating new possibilities for community development. Through a series of public welfare projects, “MA+” will explore and utilize local cultural resources, realize the self-creation, self-service and self-development of local culture, optimize the local living environment, enrich local cultural life, improve local governance, and realize the vision of "bringing art to the public, bringing people into the realm of art."

Shanghai Vanke Real Estate Co., Ltd

Since China Vanke Co., Ltd set up Shanghai Vanke in 1991, it has set its strategic role as “urban and rural constructor and life service provider.” For over 30 years, it has been continuously striving to provide good products and service, in order to meet every demand to build a beautiful life. The urban space is like a liquefied container, linking people, city, and lands. Shanghai Vanke makes an effort to enrich the spiritual value of urban space by region renovation, experience renovation, and culture renovation. Through its continuous attempt to construct interdisciplinary conversations, it is exploring the ideal future for a natural, safe, and interactive city.