By Zhou Mengya in Features

Nearly everything is quite slow in Kunming. We Kunmingers allow ourselves to set the clock to a slower pace to enjoy the sunshine and create leisure time whenever and wherever we can. Based upon this characteristic that has arisen over time, the vibe and aura for art in Kunming aligns with our pace and life philosophy, embodying the city temperament.

Art and art exhibitions are often a genuine reflection of the cultural atmosphere and human character of a city. Art museums offer a glimpse into a city's personality through their locations, architectural and decorative style, and the works of art they display.

Here in Kunming, we have many art museums, each expressing the Spring City's unique temperament in their own way.

IWE Art Museum

IWE Art Museum is located in the Western Hills (Xishan) Forest Park, opposite the Nie'er Memorial Hall. The museum is set in particularly pleasant surroundings as it stands on an advantageous spot halfway up the Western Hills, offering panoramic vistas over Kunming from its spacious balcony. The fresh air and natural environment provide visitors a refreshing and immersive experience.


With a total area of more than 20,000 square meters, IWE Art Museum is located in the old Taihua Villa. It remains the simple, elegant style of the original building with the addition of contemporary design elements, thus showcasing a unique aesthetic character.

Exhibition of oil painting by Shangding

IWE features exhibition halls, gallerie spaces, artist studios and multi-functional conference rooms. With these spaces, IWE has committed to becoming one of the most capable drivers of the art scene in China.


With the goal of building a high-level gallery for China, IWE discovers, integrates, promotes and represents the works of young contemporary artists through continuous exhibitions, resident artist programs, international exchanges and other channels.

Besides art exhibitions, IWE features an art store to promote and integrate art and representative works of well-known designers into daily life. All of its income is used to support future exhibitions and public educational activities.

Hours: Mon - Sun, 9:30am - 5:30pm

Contemporary Gallery Kunming

Contemporary Gallery Kunming (CGK) is a non-profit art institution dedicated to fostering professionalism in and public knowledge of the artistic ecosystem of Yunnan Province.

Du Tianrong exhibition at CGK

CGK has staged nearly two dozen exhibitions in its four years of operation, probing the unique art history of Kunming and Yunnan Province, alongside exhibitions of top Chinese and international artists.

Liu Jianhua exhibition at CGK

Based on the historical context and regional customs of Yunnan, CGK establishes interaction between Yunnan and contemporary art in China, presenting the thinking and practicing of art in regionality and historicity, as well as emphasizing cultural diversity and urban nature.

To Live is to Dance: The Stage Art of Yang Liping at CGK

The museum also has a lively program of artist talks, lectures, children's workshops, screenings and performances, making it a leading cultural venue in Kunming.

Hours: Tues – Sun, 10:30am – 9:30pm                                            

Zeng Xiaolian Museum of Art

The Zeng Xiaolian Museum of Art is dedicated to the life and art of famed Yunnan artist Zeng Xiaolian, who worked for decades as a scientific illustrator at the Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences. Born in 1939 in Yunnan Province, Zeng Xiaolian, now in his 80s, has focused his work since the 1950's on the plant diversity of China. Flora of China, a thorough scientific resource on native plants, utilized his great talents as its primary illustrator - not surprising as he is known as the "first Chinese botanical painter". Paintings by Zeng have been displayed in numerous exhibitions around China, as well as in the United States, Canada and Australia.


The museum, designed by local architect Yang Xiong, stands on the site of the former Pakistan Garden, built in 1999 for the Kunming World Horticultural Expo, and preserves the original Mughal-style pavilion beneath a glass and steel roof. The adjacent Vietnam Garden features a café, bookstore, and artist studio.

With an area of 1,300 square meters, the museum has four distinctive "gardens", namely: Wild Garden, Meadow Garden, Country Garden, Vision Garden.

When walking into the museum, the first feature to catch the eye is a rainforest landscape - a "hanging garden" most representative of the Xishuangbanna rainforest in the shouth of Yunnan.


The Meadow and Country gardens are planted with ornamental grasses and flowers; Azaleas, camellia, frangipani, hydrangea and other flowering plants will soon come to full bloom. Zeng's work of birds are to be installed to blend in with the natural beauty of the flower gardens, becoming one of the main exhibition spaces.


Zeng quite accurately recorded the characteristics of flowers and birds with scientific eyes, bringing them to life on his brush, and presenting Yunnan's rich biodiversity in a most vivid way.

Meanwhile they provide evidence from a local Yunnan artist that rigorous science and creative art can collide with colorful sparks.

Hours: Tues – Sun 10:30am – 5:00pm