Art exhibition celebrates role models in Chinese society

Updated 2017-10-17 14:31:54 China Daily
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The painting is among many such works on show at the National Museum of China that focus on role models.

The painting is among many such works on show at the National Museum of China that focus on role models.

Wang Jiayuan cannot be described as beautiful by any stretch of imagination. But he is portrayed in an ink painting as "one of the most beautiful faces of China" at an ongoing exhibition in Beijing.

The 50-year-old has a heavily tanned, rough face because of years spent working as the secretary of the Party branch of Chunfeng village.[Special coverage]

The village where Wang was raised is tucked away in the remote mountains of southwestern Sichuan province. And the harsh natural environment, especially the karst landscape, saw generations of villagers live in poverty and desolation earlier.

In his teens, Wang left his hometown for a better life. He later became a successful businessman. But he returned to Chunfeng in 2003, hoping to change the lives of his fellow villagers.

He then led the villagers to build roads, improving their links with the outside world. He also promoted the planting of plum trees to help the villagers boost their incomes.

His endeavor to reduce poverty in his village has won him many accolades such as that of a national model worker.

Earlier this year, he was approached by Liu Qinghe, a professor of Chinese painting at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing. The latter was inspired by Wang's work and wanted to produce a painting depicting the changes Wang had wrought in his village.

The work, titled Herald of Chunfeng Village, is now on display at the National Museum of China. It shows Wang chatting with fellow villagers and plum trees blossoming on rocky karst hills in the background.

"It is amazing," says Wang. "I'd never have thought that our village could be the subject of a painting and on show at a national museum."

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The ink painting, Herald of Chunfeng Village, portrays Wang Jiayuan, a Party official, by artist Liu Qinghe from the Central Academy of Fine Arts. The painting is among many such works on show at the National Museum of China that focus on role models.

The ink painting, Herald of Chunfeng Village, portrays Wang Jiayuan, a Party official, by artist Liu Qinghe from the Central Academy of Fine Arts. The painting is among many such works on show at the National Museum of China that focus on role models.

The exhibition, The Most Beautiful Chinese, features 21 such paintings, each hailing a role model like Wang.

The role models have been picked by the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee for their contributions to the grassroots.

The exhibition, ahead of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, comprises works by 42 artists commissioned by the China Artists Association.

Wang Yingsheng, another professor at the Central Academy of Fine Arts, portrays Gabulong (1926-2011), a Party member of Mongolian descent and a former deputy head of Qinghai province.

"Gabulong lived a simple life. For instance, he refused to move into a residential compound for senior government officials. He said it would make it difficult for his friends living in the pastoral area to find him, when they needed him. So, he remained staying at an old adobe house," says the artist.

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