The award-winning artists in Paintbox’s oeuvre include a talented new school of Chinese-Australian artists — refugees from the Tiananmen Square riots on June 4 1989. On the 18th anniversary of the brutal repression of the student protests and subsequent evacuation of these talented young artists, Paintbox is bringing this Aussie-Chinese cultural invasion to London.
Ironically, it’s these artists who grew up in the highly-politicised and conformist environment of the Chinese Cultural Revolution who are now revitalising Australian art, according to critic and writer, John McDonald, former head of Australian Art at the Australian National Gallery.
One of the artists, Jiawei Shen, a former Red Guards team leader and State propaganda artist, recently received a very high profile commission from the National Portrait Gallery (Canberra) for portraits of Princess Mary of Denmark and their patron Gordon Darling.
Despite being a famous artist in China, upon arrival in Australia with nothing but his talent, Shen earned a living at Sydney’s Darling Harbour tourist area doing portraits for $20 — a pop. Today he is a regular finalist in Australia’s most prestigious art award – the Archibald Prize.
Ji Chen, a graduate of Shanghai’s Drama Institute worked as a set designer for the Beijing Opera Company of China before arriving in Australia.
‘Ji Chen is a landscapist. His expression of the Australian landscape has a particular loving softness to it, born of a freshness of eye and a passion for open spaces. Vistas and vast horizons were hard to find in China. He fell in love with Australia’s expanses and proceeded to put his impressions onto canvas … “Here I have freedom. Australia is all freedom. There is no political problem. I can put all my attention into my own pictures, my whole life. With a reputation as a ‘solid investment artist’ he has an approving market seeking more of his expressionist landscapes and urban studies.’ Samela Harris, Australian Art Collector, Issue 30 Nov-Dec 2004
The freedom of Australia and its bright vastness has liberated these artists to create huge, bold, dramatic canvases which capture the essence of the Australian spirit.
Paintbox Fine Art
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LONDON SW6 4SA
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