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Art Discussion Group - Malta




On the occasion of the 70th Anniversary of the victory of the Chinese People’s War of resistance against Japanese aggression and the World’s Anti-fascist War His Excellency the Ambassador for China in Malta, accompanied by the Director of the Centre Mr. Yanyun Wang inaugurated a magnificent exhibition of traditional graphic art by Chinese master artists at the China Cultural Centre in Melita Street, Valletta on Thursday 15th October 2015. The exhibition will remain open to the public for two weeks. A sizeable collection of graphics represent Jiang Pei, Cui Hong and Wang Youmin.

A monumental work by Jiang Pei fascinates the viewer by its sense of movement. A compact group of volunteers (real portraits) are marching forward, leaning to the left against the wind and snow in a white virgin landscape. Their effort to move forward is counter-balanced by the force of the icy wind but the group’s resistance is noble and heroic. Though the scene is one of suffering the smiling faces demonstrate the faith and heroic resistance of a great people that feel that the opportune moment is historic and their sacrifice will result in the birth of a united nation. The artist exploits the folds of the traditional clothes in deep and thick curvilinear graphic movement, an oscillatory one like that of waves breaking on a beach. This pattern of soft sibylline curves creates a poetic and magical music almost irresistible to the eye. The monumental horse in the background seems like Pegasus flying forward on wings. It is a heroic, noble and monumental work! As large as a mural and painted on silk this graphic work stands out in its power and force.

Exactly next to it is a gentle, graceful and noble work by Cui Hong. It is in absolute contrast to that of Jiang Pei. It impinges on our mind with its suggestion for tranquillity and serenity by the peaceful and contained action. It is pure sublimation of feeling. This classical work is in contrast to the romantic piece by Jiang Pei. The solitary figure dressed in Tibetan costume is also in stark contrast to the other figures in the scene. A contained scene with atmosphere and mood that demonstrates restrain on the part of the artist to convey subtlety, elegance and grace. The softness of this work is overwhelmingly impressive. Her other paintings of women in costume have the grace and romance of a Renoir nude.

The works by Wang Youmin are powerful, strong and forceful in an explicit ‘chiaroscuro’ of black against white. His general mounted on a steed demonstrates the bravura of this master. The noble horse moves forward prancing or almost dancing. The artist must surely be a rider himself as he shows true knowledge of how a man on horseback moves in synchrony with the movements of a proud horse. The masculine and vigorous power of his works offer contrast with the elegance, grace and nobility expressed by his female colleagues.

It is a beautiful exhibition that brings out the suffering and pain of a newly born nation. The Chinese, with the acquired self-assertion and pride gained in a heroic defence of the motherland seem conscious of a bright future free from poverty, deprivation and suffering.

This classic art demonstrates that the word traditional is hardly pejorative but creative as it exploits the consolidation of man’s experience and the wisdom gained through centuries of experience, bravura and virtuosity. These artists are masters of the genre.

E. V. Borg