The year 2018 means a lot to Chinese artist Xue Haitao, who gained praise from home and abroad after 30 years of accumulation.
Xue, the Germany-China Ambassador for Cultural Exchange, created portraits for the German president, the president of South Africa and the secretary-general of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in the past year. Also, he attended the exhibition celebrating the 66th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and Pakistan as the only Chinese representative.
Xue, now the Chinese national first-class artist of traditional Chinese painting, was born into a family in Northwest China's Gansu province that has a long tradition in Chinese calligraphy and painting.
The now 48-year-old began his journey in 1990s restoring the millennium-old mural paintings of the Dunhuang Grottoes in Gansu. Xue never thought when the job began that it could last almost 12 years.
Books in the reading room were badly worn and the biggest entertainment was an occasional poker game, Xue recalled.
Despite the tough conditions, Xue participated in the restoration of more than 190 murals.
In 2006, Xue got an opportunity to study painting in Russia, during which he created his own unique technique by combining Dunhuang's heavy colors with western oil paintings on the basis of the hue of Chinese meticulous painting. It shows a great manifestation in his works like Ode to the Yellow River. More works that show Xue's deep affection for China are Ode to the Great Wall and Spirit of China. Xue's other works that promote China's story and its landscape, such as Beautiful Rhododendron, even have been collected by a German art museum.