Chinese women artists in India with mega showcase

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

NEW DELHI - A gender-sensitive artistic panorama is exhibiting nearly 70 contemporary compositions in water colour, ink, pastel and thread by 10 eminent Chinese women artists to mark six decades of diplomatic ties between India and China.

“Famous Chinese Female Artists in India” at the Lalit Kala Akademi here Dec 6-12 is brought to India by the Chinese embassy and the China Cultural Heritage Foundation.

The Foundation constituted in 2007 promotes China’s traditional and contemporary culture and heritage worldwide - and also within the country.

The exhibition is a reciprocation for the year-long Festival of India in China inaugurated in April and part of a greater Sino-Indian cultural showcase to celebrate 60 years of diplomatic ties between the two nations, a spokesperson for the Chinese embassy said.

For most Chinese artists, India is a new experience with diverse influence.

“Both countries are in Asia, closely related with vast land, large population and history and yet for a long time, we have not been communicating at the level where we should have,” artist Geng Ming said at the exhibition.

“On the way to friendship paved by our forefathers, we will connect people via cultural exchange and will build a beautiful rainbow bridge to celebrate the 60th anniversary (of diplomatic ties),” she said.

Geng’s delicate brush paintings of Chinese village life — “Leisure at a Farm Home”, “Bodhisattva at Ease” (a mother and child composition with Chinese accompanying inscriptions) and “Meng Haoran” — captivated viewers with their deft strokes in traditional Chinese brush painting, serigraphy (silk screen printing) styles and pastel colour palette.

Artist Cao Ailin is a silk thread artist. Her paintings - “5 Blessings” - a composition of five tigers is embroidered in silk thread on a special transparent tissue paper surface. The thread work is so delicate that the pelt of the tigers shimmers with a three-dimensional source of light.

The Qingcheng-born Chinese folk artist was honoured with the “Master of China Folk Arts” in 2005.

Au Huilin is a folk paper cut artist. Born in Gansu province, she imbibed the tradition of paper cut art from her mother Wang Jinlang. Her detailed cut art in red paper, “The Tree of Life” and “Harmony of the Heaven, Art and Man” was a fusion of traditional Chinese styles and contemporary ideas rooted in reality.

A panel of six large-format vertical paintings of the goddess Kwai-Yin in six ornamental avatars symbolising peace, passion, virtues, beneficence and mercy were examples of the mastery that the artist Xiu wielded on traditional techniques, paints and compositions.

The art works on display are inspired by ancient style of Chinese brush paintings that developed around 4,000 BC and flourished for more than 6,000 years without a break.

After Buddhism came to China from India in the first century AD, murals as an artistic exposition became popular on grotto and temple walls.

Landscape paintings, which had established itself as genre in the 4th century, gradually split into two styles — “the blue-and-green landscapes” and the “ink-and-wash gain”. Flower-and-bird paintings separated from decorative art to form a separate genre.

Figure drawings emerged from the religious confines of Buddhism and the goddess cults to span a gamut of new subjects in the 10th century.

The three main kinds of brushes used for Chinese brush paintings are Hsieh Chao Pi - crab claw brush, Hua Jan Pi - flower painting brush and Lan Yu Chu Pi - brush for paintings orchids and bamboo.

“The women artists showcasing in India are unique in China’s art arena. They have been pursuing excellence and carrying forward their heritage for the last several decades,” Geng said.

“They have been painting their lives with brushes and ink. They are like the cross ties who contribute silently without being noticed. They have never been in highlight but have still contributed to the society with their work and to the later generations,” she added.

Contemporary art in China was a man’s world till the turn of the last decade of 1990s. Though the country became a power house art industry more in the mid-90s, the list of celebrity Chinese artist-billionaires boasted of few women.

But the last decade has witnessed a slow shift in the gender balance in Chinese art. Contemporary art is showing a delicately feminine face in China with a new generation of women artists making their presence felt in the country’s artistic landscape.

Filed under: Diplomacy

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