Artists who simply make an impression
An artwork with straight lines and bright colors by Tan Haoyue. [Photo provided to China Daily]
Organization helps talented painters overcome challenges of life to draw their own future.
In terms of making an impression, three works at the entrance of 5 Colours Foundation's booth at the 2019 Art Chengdu International Art Fair could be described as impressionist.
The portraits by Xie Xinxin were truly eye-catching. Their bold colors, bouncy strokes and expressiveness seemed to almost demand attention.
The love and happiness they exuded came from her flamboyant depiction of an old couple and a man whom she imagined with green hair.
Another work was a standing bird where details captured the eye and riveted the viewer. The background was smeared with simple colors, the bird was drawn with dots and lines - short and long, floating and curly - and the colors showed contrast and meticulous layering.
Her drawing teacher, He Linlin, says the painting shows her distinctive techniques in dealing with point, line and plane, which embodies her sophisticated painting language.
Xie, born in 1988, lives with cerebral palsy and amentia due to a difficult birth. Her paintings highlight the vibrancy of color. She took up the brush as a child and her style reflects her ability to transmit her energy onto the canvas.
Aware of Xie's talent since childhood, her mother, Xu Yujiang, found teachers for her and took her works to exhibitions and competitions before getting in touch with 5 Colours Foundation, a charity aimed at helping people with physical and mental challenges, in 2013.
The organization, founded after the magnitude 8 earthquake hit Wenchuan, Sichuan province, on May 12, 2008, was initiated by influential contemporary painter Zhou Chunya to help children who suffered injuries in the devastating quake to use art and painting to aid them on the road to recovery.
It later expanded its remit to helping people living with mental disability. Some of the students made their way to university, studying art-related majors, and the organization helps them with tuition fees and painting materials.
They are given skills to make a living by creating their own collections or doing work related to painting after graduation.
The move also benefits their family, according to Zhou, as they see the progress made and the talent revealed.
A powerful idea
Over the past 10 years, the organization has helped 397 students in 16 locations, including Chengdu, Dujiangyan, Hanwang and Dayi in Sichuan province and Chongqing, Yushu in Northwest China's Qinghai province and Nantong in East China's Jiangsu province. A dozen of them have been to college and some have graduated, got a job and married.
Zhang Jun, secretary-general of the organization, knows that the commitment to helping these artists never ends.
Some of the current students have been with the organization since the very beginning.
Zhang initially struggled with whether to help more students or stick to the current scale, and, whether to start a designated school, or just work with local special schools and welfare institutions.