Fu Yiyao is holding a solo exhibition at the China National Art Museum. The show runs until April 26.
On display are more than 150 selected ink paintings she has created over the past 15 years. The largest piece, 12 meters long and 6 meters high, depicts cultural exchanges between China and Japan in ancient times.
"The show is a summary of my life in Japan and of my artistic pursuits over the past decades," said Fu. She added that the exhibition is held also to observe the 100th anniversary of the birth of her father Fu Baoshi (1904-64), a widely recognized master of traditional Chinese ink painting.
Born into an artist's family in 1947, Fu Yiyao initially did not want to become a painter like her father and brothers. "In my early years of education, I indulged myself in literature, drama and film," Fu recalled. "But I developed a keen interest in painting in the late 1960s after my beloved father passed away. I tried hard to find some means to maintain my emotional connection with him," she said.
In 1979, Fu went to Japan to study Asian arts at Musasino Art University in Tokyo. She has also studied the art of the ancient Chinese Dunhuang Grottoes at the prestigious Hirayama Art Studio in Tokyo.
Traditional Chinese ink painting was first introduced to Japan in the 12th and 13th centuries; the 15th and 16th centuries saw an increasing popularity of the art form in Japan. However, the influence of Chinese ink painting has gradually declined in modern times, Fu said. "When I first arrived in Japan in the late 1970s, I expected to study 'authentic' traditional Japanese arts and the art of the Dunhuang Mogao Grottoes, which had been a subject of intensive research among Japanese artists. Instead, I was shocked to find that many young Japanese artists were fervently embracing Western art forms and concepts.
But after trips to some Japanese museums and temples where a large number of ancient Chinese and Japanese paintings are well-preserved and shown regularly to the public, Fu was totally caught up in the splendour of the art of traditional ink painting and made up her mind to devote herself to the revival of the art of ink painting in Japan.
Fu has developed a style of her own and established herself in Japan as a veteran artist of ink painting.
She is famed for her imposing ink paintings which usually feature landscapes, Buddhist stories, Japanese folk rituals, and visual interpretations of poems by both ancient Japanese poets and Chinese literati in the Tang (AD 618-907) and Song (960-1279) dynasties.
(China Daily April 23, 2004)