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Outstanding in his field

By Ma Zhenhuan| China Daily| Updated: August 8, 2023 L M S


The exhibition, Visionary: The Works of Xu Jiang, features powerful impressions of landscapes and city scenes. CHINA DAILY

With an oeuvre inspired by sunflowers, exhibition shows the best of renowned Chinese artist, Ma Zhenhuan reports.

Renowned Chinese artist Xu Jiang may be recognized as primarily a landscape painter, but it is his painting and sculpting of sunflowers that has become his signature in the last two decades — at least as far as the public and some of his fellow artists are concerned.

For the past 20 years, Xu has been devoted to creating artwork on the theme of sunflowers.

He has traveled far and wide looking for them, from the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region during the sunflower harvesting season to the Inner Mongolia autonomous region where they were covered with snow, and right on his doorstep in Zhejiang province, where several sunflowers still stood tall and proud, despite the ravages of a devastating typhoon.

In fact, for over a decade, Xu has cultivated sunflowers himself on a plot of land at the Xiangshan Campus of the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, where he served as the president between 2001 and 2020.

Indeed, "for the last two decades, not a day has passed by without Xu thinking about sunflowers, and not 10 days have passed by without him painting sunflowers", according to the introduction of his latest exhibition in Shanghai.

Until Aug 27 at the Shanghai Jiushi International Art Center, Visionary: The Works of Xu Jiang presents some of the artist's best sunflower paintings.

For Xu, sunflowers are full of symbolism.

"They are like people, especially the Chinese people," Xu says. "They are strong, fervent and tough."

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