The painting “Xi Zhongxun in Nanliang” is now on display at the National Art Museum of China in Beijing.
Recently, the Guangdong Art Centennial Exhibition was held at the National Art Museum of China in Beijing. A history theme painting “Xi Zhongxun in Nanliang” draws the attention of numerous viewers.
The painting vividly depicts Xi Zhongxun, then chairman of the Soviet Government in Shaanxi-Gansu Border Revolutionary Base Area, launching new policies for running the area. The picture reminds many Chinese people Xi Zhongxun’s inaugural promise - “I, together with my colleagues, will spare no effort to ensure that all the people shall have work, enough food and happy life.”
Shen Haixiong, Head of the Exhibition Organizer, Member of the Standing Committee of CPC Guangdong Provincial Committee and Guangdong Provincial Publicity Chief said, Nanliang made great contribution to the victory of Chinese revolution. Nanliang government’s governance concept are people-oriented, faith keeping, paying attention to the interests of the whole, pragmatic and innovative. This was one of the sources of CPC’s strengths.
Xi Zhongxun later led Guangdong in its implementation of reform and opening up policy and in the construction of special economic zones in the province. Guangdong’s innovation and development in the past decades could not be possible without Xi Zhongxun, added Shen.
Shen said this piece of art linked together Nanliang and Guangdong by interpreting the source of CPC’s faith and strength.
Chen Yan, the painter of this artwork said, the painting was created in celebration of the CPC’s 90th anniversary and he felt greatly honored that it was exhibited in the Guangdong Art Centennial Exhibition.
Chen Yan was born and raised in a peasant family in northern Shaanxi, whose parents were both veterans with Xi Zhongxun as their political commissar. His experiences in Shaanxi’s Yan’an have profound impact on his creation, and he also has special passion for creating revolution theme paintings. Chen said, the painting was his respect for and a review of the historic achievements of the older generation.
In the 1930s, supported by the leadership of the Party and the masses, communists represented by Liu Zhidan and Xi Zhongxun built the Shaanxi-Gansu Border Revolutionary Base Area centering on Longdong’s Nanliang. Based on that, the CPC established the first Border Area Soviet Government in northwest China.
Before creating this painting, Chen looked up mass data and read through the book “Xi Zhongxun in Shaanxi-Gansu Border Revolutionary Base Area” where he gained inspiration. In the painting, Xi Zhongxun is surrounded by Red Army soldiers, workers, peasants and the masses; with ear of wheat, surnai and red flag.
“Nanliang spirit” in the painting
Chen said, all the characters in the painting are derived from real life. “A student of Lenin Elementary School in the painting is derived from my school life in Yan’an.”
Based on life and based on history have always been Chen’s creative concept. Now over seventy years old Chen Yan still has great passion for creation. His rich experiences constantly inspire him and enable him to accomplish painting creation with ease. He said he is influenced by the “Nanliang spirit” and hopes more people can see this painting and gain strength from it.
Using Chinese painting to depict grand scene
Chen said, “Large-scale oil paintings of the West usually present grand occasion close to the real historical events, with relatively real historical figures. ‘Xi Zhongxun in Nanliang’ is a Chinese painting with the features of western oil paintings. This is an important exploration for me.”