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Painter narrates Chinese history, culture with brush

The Vibe| Updated: October 12, 2022 L M S

Chen Jialing, 85, uses his brush to capture and share the stunning natural scenery of his homeland while narrating Chinese stories to the world.

Born in 1937, Chen was raised in a low-income family. His mother enjoyed painting and would often choose animals as her subject to cheer him up. This instilled in him a deep-rooted love of art and helped crystallize his ambition to succeed one day as an established artist. However, his father passed away when he was young, which meant he had to drop out of school and serve as an apprentice at a barbershop to support his family.


Chen Jialing tells his story on the TV show "Meet the Masters."

In 1949, the government launched a new policy to help poor students get scholarships, and Chen decided to return to school to pursue his dream. After two years of preparation, he was admitted to Hangzhou High School. Chen said that year was a key turning point in his life. 


Chen Jialing tells his story on the TV show.

Chen entered the China Academy of Art in Zhejiang in 1958, quickly embracing the advice and guidance of two painting masters, Pan Tianshou and Lu Yanshao. He became a skilled artist in the field of Chinese painting during that period.


Chen shares his life story on the TV show.

One of Chen's artworks was selected for China's 6th National Art Exhibition. This represented a breakthrough in his career. He was inspired by the painting techniques of his teacher, Lu Yanshao, and went on to forge his style to express his unique ideas and feelings about life and art. 


One of Chen's paintings selected for the 6th National Art Exhibition in China.

In 2007, Chen held his first solo exhibition at 70. Since then, he has staged an exhibition almost every year. He believes there are so many beautiful places to see in China that he can never imagine his passion or inspiration being exhausted. For example, in 2013, he visited the Jinggang Mountains – a region renowned as "a cradle of the Chinese revolution" – and elegantly captured its spectacular vistas to pay homage and record his artistic renderings for posterity. 


Chen visits China's Jinggang Mountains.

Chen said his golden age started in his 70s, as he spent the first half of his life building and polishing his painting skills. He hopes to paint as much of his homeland's stunning scenery as possible during his lifetime. 

(All photos via CMG)

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