Painter inks images of victory over poverty

(China Daily Global )

Updated: 2021-01-14

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NANNING-As China bids farewell to absolute poverty, many traditional ink paintings focusing on the theme of poverty alleviation are illustrating the changes in southern villages.

Shang Xinzhou, a painter with the Guangxi Arts University in Nanning, the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, has been creating traditional ink paintings depicting poverty-stricken areas for over five years.

"Thanks to my experience in Duomai village, I can make the paintings more vivid," said the 36-year-old painter, who spent two and a half years as head of Duomai's poverty alleviation team in Baise city, Guangxi.

The subjects of Shang's paintings changed as progress was made in the fight against poverty. The focus of his work shifted from unfavorable local conditions and people's difficulties to better infrastructure and happier lives.

In his paintings, rocky paths and shabby houses were replaced by wide concrete roads and buildings made of bricks and steel. The poultry and silkworm industries were also highlighted.

"I like drawing people's real lives and important moments, and paintings became a bridge for communication between me and the local people," Shang said.

During his stay in Baise, he used his paintings to help villagers sell their products.

Zhou Jiahu, a 37-year-old local farmer said, "Shang has helped us promote local agricultural products by posting works depicting pigs and chickens on social media to attract buyers."

To enrich the local nightlife, Shang sold paintings to buy street lamps so people could enjoy square dancing in the evenings.

Shang's delicate works are popular with the villagers. "I love his paintings and they reflect the seismic changes in our village," Zhou said.

In recent years, more artists have traveled to impoverished mountain villages to record the development of China's rural areas, presenting stories of the country's battle against poverty.

Shang said: "I've been a witness to the local poverty alleviation efforts. I want to record the changes of this era with my brush and create more works about people."