Across China: A Canadian indulged in Chinese ink wash painting

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NANCHANG, Aug. 31 (Xinhua) -- Canadian Brandon Collins-Green calls himself a Chinese culture "addict." He has lived in China for over six years, spending his time on painting in the Chinese ink wash style and translating Chinese classics into English.

Collins-Green, 37, is a doctoral candidate in classical Chinese literature at Jiangxi Normal University in Nanchang, capital of east China's Jiangxi Province.

About 15 years ago, his first encounter with a stage adaption of the classic Chinese novel "The Dream of the Red Chamber" in Singapore inspired him to study Chinese in the following years.

Learning Chinese as a second language, Collins-Green found it was not easy to understand a novel written in Chinese. "Besides the story, I am interested in the poems, dialogues and lantern riddles in the book," he told Xinhua in a Chinese-language interview, saying he has read the book time after time.

"I used to know little about China, and what I knew then was mostly from the negative reports in Western media," he said. "Because of 'The Dream of the Red Chamber,' I wanted to get a closer look at China."

His strong curiosity about China and Chinese culture prompted Collins-Green to travel to the city of Nanchang in 2015, with the hope of learning what the real China was like.

During a visit to Badashanren Memorial Hall in Nanchang, where paintings of a famous Chinese artist from the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) were on exhibition, Collins-Green was intrigued by how a tiny brush could depict the curves of hills, and shade and light on paper.

In his years spent translating "The Dream of the Red Chamber" into English, he has gradually found his way of combining Chinese and foreign cultures into his paintings, writing the poems in English as the backdrops of his figures.

As of this year, Collins-Green has completed over 2,500 works, including translations of "The Dream of the Red Chamber," landscape paintings and portraits.

He lives a life greatly influenced by "The Dream of the Red Chamber," renting a loft of about 9 square meters beside his university as a studio.

Since March, his paintings have been exhibited at art festivals in cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou and Xi'an, bringing him a group of fans. Some have sent him emails, asking the meanings of the poems in his paintings.

"We can see from Collins-Green that traditional Chinese culture is becoming more attractive to people in other countries," said Li Shunchen, Collins-Green's mentor at Jiangxi Normal University.

"I really recommend that more people come to China to see how fast it is changing and to enjoy the charm of its culture," Collins-Green said. Enditem

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