The road to success in art creation is rough. All those who can succeed seem to have one salient feature in common - strong character and an ability to exist and create in adverse circumstances. Dr Fang Zhaoling, a master of Chinese painting and calligraphy, also has this feature which makes her successful in overcoming all the obstacles she has faced in her life and establishing a remarkable career in creation. Today, Dr Fang, in her advanced years, still manifests untiring zeal for creation that has won her widespread admiration and profound respect.
If you love Dr Fang's painting and calligraphy and want to view her latest works, here is an opportunity at the Hong Kong Central Library. To mark the opening of the Central Library, the Hong Kong Heritage Museum will stage a special exhibition to feature Dr Fang's masterpieces in the Library's Exhibition Gallery from tomorrow (July 24) till August 12, 2001.
Entitled "The Majestic Brush - Works by Fang Zhaoling", the exhibition will feature 120 exhibits including Dr Fang's works created between 1958 and 1999 as well as her seals and painting tools. More than 50 pieces of the artist's latest works are shown for the first time in Hong Kong.
The Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Mr Tung Chee Hwa, accompanied by Dr Fang Zhaoling, the Chairman of the Culture and Heritage Commission, Professor Chang Hsin-kang, the Director of Leisure and Cultural Services, Mr Paul Leung Sai-wah, and Mrs Anson Chan, officiated at the opening ceremony of the exhibition today (July 23) at the Hong Kong Central Library.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Mr Paul Leung Sai-wah noted that Dr Fang Zhaoling was an accomplished contemporary and calligrapher and she had developed her own distinctive and original style in painting by incorporating the essence of traditional Chinese painting art with modern themes in her works. Mr Leung also complimented Dr Fang on her effort to open up new realms of painting and calligraphy, making her contribution to the promotion of Chinese culture.
"Dr Fang's works not only display the refreshing charm of nature and her unique artistic intelligence, but also reveal her passion for life and indomitable courage to experiment new techniques. I am sure visitors will share the same views after appreciating Dr Fang's works," said Mr Leung.
Featuring exquisite paintings of landscape, flowers, birds and portraits as well as scrolls of calligraphy and handscrolls, "The Majestic Brush" exhibition is sure to bring to the pubic great pleasure and an appreciation of Dr Fang's creativity and her achievements in art.
Born in Wuxi, Jiangsu Province in 1914, Dr Fang Zhaoling developed an early interest in Chinese painting and calligraphy. Under the tutelage of masters such as Qian Songyan, Chen Jiucun, Zhao Shao'ang and Zhang Daqian, she first learned flower-and-bird painting before later specialising in landscapes. After years of exploration, she then developed her own individual style. She studied Chinese Literature and Philosophy at the University of Hong Kong and Oxford University from 1954 to 1958 and received an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters from the University of Hong Kong in 1996.
Dr Fang's works are rich in content and brimming with her passion for life and a concern for her hometown. She skillfully integrates traditional Chinese brushwork in her treatment of contemporary subjects. Her works dealing with current affairs such as Vietnamese boat people, environmental protection and world peace display to the full her refreshing vision in composition.
Dr Fang's solo exhibitions and public lectures in Singapore, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Germany, the United States of America, Australia, China and Japan have contributed greatly to publicising Chinese calligraphy and painting, winning her international acclaim. In 1956, she staged a solo exhibition in Singapore, pioneering what would become a tradition of women artists staging "one-woman" shows.
Over the past few decades, Dr Fang has made breakthroughs in the realm of painting and calligraphy. As well as earning her great acclaim from the art community at home and abroad, her groundbreaking endeavours have also contributed immensely to the promotion of Chinese art and culture worldwide.
Besides the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters presented by the University of Hong Kong, Dr Fang was also awarded a honorary doctorate by Soka University in Japan and granted the Award of Highest Honour by Tokyo Fuji Art Museum. All these honours firmly established Dr Fang's high standing in the world of art and academic. Part of the displays in "The Majestic Brush" exhibition has toured the museums of Tokyo, Osaka and Hiroshima in Japan in recent years, winning her wide acclaim.
Hong Kong Central Library is located at 66 Causeway Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong. The Library's Exhibition Gallery opens from 10am to 8pm daily. The admission is free. For enquiries, please call 2180 8188.
End/Monday, July 23, 2001