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Traditions Mix in Beijing Oil Painting Exhibition

A collection of oil paintings by artists from China's ethnic groups are now on display at the China National Museum of Fine Arts, as part of the on-going third Chinese Oil Painting Exhibition. The 500 or so pieces on show are heavy with ethnic color.


Oil paints are the latest medium for innovative artists from China's ethnic groups to grapple with. Works have been collected from all corners of the country which attempt to express the nature and culture of people of ethnic groups in the language of oil painting.


Liu Shaokun, organizer of The Oil Painting Show of Ethnic Groups, said: "Ethnic groups from five autonomous regions, including Guangxi Zhuang, Tibet, Inner Mongolia and Xinjiang Uygur, have all contributed to the show the best of their oil paintings. Local flavor and features are vividly explained in the works here on display."


To depict traditional life truthfully on the canvas, artists must first experience the life as it is for the people in that place. Then it is up to them to create a fusion of their experiences with the new art form.


Xie Lin, oil painter of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, said: "I've been living for years in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. I'm especially interested in the life style of Bai Kuyao people. They have very distinct ethnic characteristics. I've been trying my best to interpret their culture for the world through my painting."


Oil painters from ethnic regions might be minor in number, but with these works they're making a claim that they're not less mighty in artistic expression. The wide coverage of living customs and life styles of their Chinese homeland, and the depth of history combined with modern development in the nation have bestowed upon them inspiration that cannot be found elsewhere. So, what's going on here is not only showing off the cream of China's ethnic oil painting, but a big moment for the world's record of the fine art.


(CCTV.com September 11, 2003)

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