Beijing suburb Songzhuang draws artists from overseas
American artist Sridhar Ramasami has it all: A wife, a child and a gallery of his own in Songzhuang, a small town on the outskirts of Beijing.
The 50-year-old first came to Songzhuang as a backpacker six years ago.
"I had just come from visiting Shandong, Gansu and Jiangxi provinces, but the artistic atmosphere in Songzhuang was by far the best," he recalls. "This is a paradise for artists - free, dynamic and inclusive."
Ten years ago, he was living a successful - albeit stressful - life in Miami. He was an engineer and earned a high salary.
"That was not the kind of life I wanted. I wanted to be a painter and do something more creative," he says.
"Songzhuang is unique. There are so many artists, all from around the world. We have so many galleries and stores - all just within walking distance - as well as a great community of volunteers."
Ramasami combines art and technology in his paintings. "I was an engineer, so I like to use materials, such as plastic and resin, and I use 3-D printing."
He married a local woman in early 2016, and their daughter was born in January.
"I've taken root in China. I am a Songzhuang local now."
What we do
SAFEA is responsible for certifying foreign experts to work in the Chinese mainland and organizing overseas training for Chinese technical and managerial professionals.