Growing Up with Happiness


Young artist Nan Fang has only focused on one subject, his cute son, since the boy was born, and an exhibition featuring 30 of his art pieces is currently running at Shanghai Art Museum.

With a red nose and green hair, the chubby-faced boy with a big head "grows" under his father's brushstrokes.

"I love to depict every movement of him, funny and innocent," says the artist. "I really feel that I am growing up with him again."

Born in 1976, Nan, unlike his peers, shies away from recording the obscure subjects of life.

"But if you think it is easy to create works like mine, you are wrong," he says.

In fact, Nan has done a lot of reading related to children among the ancient masterpieces and folk artworks.

"It is very important to use the right colors that would stimulate the viewer's interest," he adds. "Sometimes I refer to the eyes of my son to see the surroundings. Wow, it's totally different from those of an adult. I treasure the feeling and touch that he has."

The patient observation and the tender caring toward the baby boy finally make the man both mature in art and in the role of a father.

"Perhaps I am a bit selfish as a father," he laments. "I am so happy that every growing period of my son has been faithfully recorded."

Concurrently on show at Shanghai Art Museum is another exhibition featuring traditional ink-wash paintings created by 10 artists. Works by Chen Xinmao, Lu Chuntao and Jin Weihong, all pioneers in pursuing new frontiers in the centuries-old art genre, are included.

"The participating artists have different backgrounds, some born in the 1950s, some in the 1960s and some in the 1970s," says curator Yang Weimin. "It is also our purpose to reflect a general outlook on contemporary ink-wash paintings in China."

The works are all fused with some modern touch, whether in the concept and technique.