Zhuang Yujun (R) and Shenzhen Museum curator Ye Yang in front of Zhuang’s painting “Lin Zexu” at the museum May 10. Sun Yuchen
Shenzhen painter, calligrapher and graphic designer Zhuang Yujun presented his ink painting on paper “Lin Zexu” to Shenzhen Museum on May 10.
The 2 x 3.65m painting created in 2014 is part of Zhuang’s “Chinese Spirit” painting series which illustrates notable Chinese figures, such as the philosopher Confucius, calligrapher Wang Xizhi, actor Bruce Lee, kung-fu master Huo Yuanjia, commander-in-chief Yang Jingyu, ancient poet Qu Yuan and scholar-official Lin Zexu.
Lin (1785-1850) was known for his forceful opposition to the opium trade in China in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). He is praised for his constant position on the “moral high ground” in his fight.
The “Chinese Spirit” series, along with the “Chinese Character” series, were warmly received in China and the United States when they were previously exhibited and Zhuang once said the two series were his contribution to world peace and justice. “I’m illustrating the unique qualities and personality of the traditional Chinese spirit which not only belongs to China but also all of mankind.”
Zhuang only painted faces of the figures in the series because he believed that facial expressions have the most power. “I tried to express people’s spirit through their faces and eyes, not from their garments or accessories.”
One of the most acclaimed logo designers in China, Zhuang has designed logos for more than 1,000 organizations, including the China (Shenzhen) International Cultural Industries Fair (ICIF). He has also broken new ground in Chinese ink painting. His painting style features a unique artistic language created via ink and calligraphy. This style and concept is embodied in his “Chinese Character” and “Chinese Spirit” series, showing a mixture of Chinese freehand ink painting and Western sketch techniques. Beijing opera mask and traditional Chinese calligraphy elements can also be found in his portrait paintings.
When Zhuang’s paintings were exhibited in Los Angeles, the United States, in 2015, the artist received an honorary award from the Committee of the LA Art Show and a congressional award from the U.S. Congress.
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