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International friendship blossoms in peony painting

Updated: 2016-02-01 17:54
By Song Wei in Nottingham (chinadaily.com.cn)

International friendship blossoms in peony painting

Jiang Hongsheng paints a peony at his studio at Nottingham Lakeside Arts, Jan 28, 2016. [Photo by Song Wei/chinadaily.com.cn]

Sofia Nazar-chadwick, head of Audience Development of Lakeside Arts, said she was amazed at the scroll of beautiful flowers.

"If you asked most of the British people, they would tell you, 'I can't do brush painting'. But look at what his students here have produced. It's absolutely stunning. Jack (Jiang's English name) is able to show people that they could do things that they would never have had expected to do," Sofia said.

Sofia described Jiang as "a phenomenal, brilliant man who is able to bridge both cultural gaps and artistic gaps… a good ambassador for Chinese culture who makes it more accessible to the West".

Stephen Green, a web application developer, a frequent visitor to Jiang's exhibitions and workshop, said, "Jack's work brought back my happy memories when I was in China 20 years ago. It also reminds us that spring is coming; we've had lot of winter here."

Jiang's mastery of English and teaching expertise is inseparable from his previous occupation.

Holding a Masters in English Education from Zhejiang Normal University, he was a teacher of English for 22 years before developing his art skills working under a master artist, Yu Yiqing.

In 2012, he was presented with a National Golden Prize for Chinese Painting. Also in the same year, he set up the The Red Peony Academy in East China's port city Ningbo.

The academy has been offering free classes on Chinese brush painting and calligraphy for foreigners in Ningbo, and has taught over 53 hundred students from 160 countries.

"I hope eventually a "butterfly effect" would take shape," Jiang said. "I hope my students can not only be an observer, a participant, but also become a friendship ambassador introducing Chinese arts to others."

The UK visit is the Red Peony Academy's debut in an overseas country. Jiang said he is "excited and surprised to see how welcome Chinese arts are here".

On Feb 9, Jiang will open his first workshop at Nottingham Confucius Institute Jubilee Campus, and he will also travel to Chichester University in the south.

Jiang's exhibition and workshop will run through February 19 at Nottingham Lakeside Arts.

To contact the author: songwei@chinadaily.com.cn

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