||Stillwater Living April
||COMMENTS ABOUT HEQI ON NEWSPAPERS AND MAGAZINES
Asian Christian Art Association
Any authentic art works stem out of the three factors of the artist: 1)one's own experience of reality; 2)one's perspective of reality; 3)one's unique creative artistic expression of reality. To be sure it is not easy to distinguish one from the others since they are so intimately related to each other. Yet, in observing carefully as a whole, one can see there are those factors in the background of artistic work.
This is true in the case of the art works of He Qi. I met with him the first time through the introduction of Bishop K.H.Ting at Nanjing Theological Seminary in the fall of 1983. Immediately we became good friends sharing common understanding and common vision. I was very much moved by his works which are the creative expression of his own struggling experience in the context of China from a Christian perspective. They are both unique and powerful: unique in being rooted in local Chinese experience and powerful in making the universal appeal in the world.
In 1990, He Qi made his first visit to Japan at the invitation of Asian Christian Art Association. He had made lasting contributions in Japan including his lecture and exhibition at Doshisha University in Kyoto and his presence at the National Assembly of Nippon Christian Academy in Tokyo. Now we are glad to recognize the universal appreciation of his art works not only in Asia but also in the whole oikoumene.
We certainly would like to celebrate this publication of his art works. At the same time we express our best wishes for his further contribution and development in this very significant field.
|GOSPEL VIEW FROM CHINA
Associate Editor, Christianity Today
This article was published on <CHRISTIANITY TODAY> January 7, 2002, P67-68.
He Qi first saw Jesus' face in an old magazine. Now he paints his own images of the biblical story.
"Artwork has no national boundary, but an artist always has his nationality," says He Qi (pronounced ho-chee) of China.
Though a fine-art citizen of the world, He chooses to continue living in his native country. "I love my homeland because my life, my rejoicing, and my suffering have been closely linked with it."
He also loves something more than his homeland. During the Cultural Revolution, He was in the countryside painting images of Mao Zedong. One day he saw Raphael's Madonna and Child in an old magazine. "I was very moved by the softness of the Virgin's smile," he told William McGurn of Far Eastern Economic Review (Feb. 26, 1998). "Everywhere around me people claimed to be seeking truth but had their knives out."
Raphael's painting alone did not convert He, although it did capture his imagination. "There are two different ways in China for people to become a Christian," he says. "One is by the strong influence from his family background; another way is by his own choice¡ª¡®step by step.' I belong to the second way."
He has done doctoral studies in Europe and has been an artist in residence in the United States. Currently he is artist in residence and professor at Nanjing Theological Seminary.
<images and commentary>
Flight Into Egypt
"The baby Jesus holds an apple. The apple is a symbol of the original sin, and baby Jesus was born in order to redeem people in the world. Please look at baby Jesus; he is only holding, not eating. He would not repeat the original sin." --He Qi.
The two faces in Mary Magdalene are the disciples of Jesus and other people mentioned through the Bible. "Some of the people there became angry and said to one another, ¡®What was the use of wasting the perfume? It could have been sold for more than three hundred silver coins and the money given to the poor!'" (Mark 14:3-5; Matt. 26:6-13; John 12:1-8). One disciple was Judas. They were hypocritical, so I painted them to look like drama actors wearing masks.
On this image, please see Matthew 25:34-36. I did the painting based on my three visits to southwest China, the mountain area, which is very poor. I found sometimes people did something wrong¡ªeven committed a crime¡ªdue to their poverty. Some of them became thieves, became robbers, and became prostitutes. I think Jesus had a special concern about the poor and their living right during his life on Earth.
For more information on He Qi, visit the web site of the Asian Christian Art Association ( www.asianchristianart.org ). Some of his works are available through Ellison Bay Gallery in Wisconsin, owned by Brian and Jeanee Linden (BLinden@embark.com).
THE VISION OF CHINESE CHRISTIAN FAITH: THE ART AND LIFE OF HE QI
By Janice Wickeri
<CHIMES> Fall 1999 Volume 45 No.1
.......He Qi challenges our assumptions and asks us to view the scene with fresh eyes. In some paintings, black lines run boldly, but not obtrusively, through figures and space alike. Combined with the deep light-suffused colors, this technique gives a stained-glass effect- a reference to the medieval art he so admires. His work is diverse. In addition to his oil paintings, he has done woodblock prints, bold black lines on a single-color background, with a stark, almost primitive feel. He has worked closely with weavers of the Tujia minority, who have executed his designs in their traditional tapestries.
......He Qi looks to the universal as well as the particular aspects of Chinese Christian art. His artwork says something to both the Chinese Christian and worldwide Christian communities. That it does is borne out by the reception of his work overseas. It could, of course, be the case that Christians outside China find such art novel and charming in its unexpected use of Chinese images.
But, as an artist, He Qi is reaching for something deeper and more universal, that he can bring what he has discovered in his quest for a Chinese expression of Christian art to new heights.
By William McGurn
<FAR EASTERN ECONOMIC REVIEW> February 26,1998
Today, He ranks as arguably China's most internationally sought after contemporary Christian artist, a Nanjing University art-school graduate who is the first mainland Chinese to gain a doctorate in comparative religious art.
But he would be the first to acknowledge that he is only one part of a small but growing movement of Chinese artists now realizing a goal that long eluded generations of Western missionaries: a body of art that is both genuinely Christian and fully Chinese.
|A Spiritual Narrative
Ding Fang www.dingfangart.com
(Translation corrected by Ms.Susan Hooks)
H e Qi's recent colored inks on paper paintings with Bible motif reflect a kind of ripe style. When we enter He Qi's artistic conception, we could directly enjoy a kind of spiritual bathe by a clear spring from a high mountain.
In the picture of "The Good Samaritan", He Qi painted a full representation combined with brilliant color; he created an artistic conception with the sky, the earth and the human being. There is a sacred graceful bearing which is rippling in the sky. His art style reminds us of the great artist Georges Rouault's paintings which deeply expressed a magnificent religious feeling.
In "Annunciation", He Qi depicts an angel and St. Mary, who's playing the flute. They ascend from Mary's home by a simple and unadorned gesture. There is a pure white dove bowing its head and spreading its wings; it seems to bless them.
"The Song of Songs" shows an honest figure of a typical Chinese village lady, her spirit has been promoted by the song of an angel, the timbre of the harp is a bright cadmium yellow twinkling in the night.
"Peace Be Still" is called a classical work of the artist, the decoration filling the picture is controlled by a solemn divinity, the moving of the stormy sea is solidified by a great and simple beauty. There is the most brilliant point: a dove holding an olive branch in its mouth has formed a crown on Jesus head by chance, we could easily understand what the artist wanted to say.
To scan He Qi's artistic style of Biblical motif paintings, we find a mutual relationship between the characters and background. It seems like stained glass - the strong colors are surrounded by the black ink outline, throughout his painting, straight edges and inner curves, white contrasting with black. His paintings have absorbed so many Chinese cultural elements from traditional seal cutting, folk paper cutting and even Beijing opera. He blends Chinese traditional art elements together with Western modern art elements, and I do think that he has controlled the way into a realm with ability and ease.
The spiritual origin of He's art work is traced back to his deep experience from the western part of China, from the Buddhism art of the Northern and Southern Dynasties, from his controlling the innocent images of Chinese folk art, and his understanding of the Christian spirit and Chinese Christian indigenization.
All above originally individual elements are marvelously mixed together. The result is that He Qi's work has gradually approached an original art expression which unites substantial content together with exceptional art form. From his paintings, we can read a spiritual narrative.
A RIOT OF FLOWERS: THE ART OF HE QI,CHINESE ARTIST
By Robert Brusic
St.Paul Luther Seminary Pastor
<ARTS~THE ARTS IN RELIGIOUS AND THEOLOGICAL STUDIES>
Volume 9, Issue 3,1997
In these pictures the viewer finds a kind of summary of He Qi's pictorial program and his theology. He is clearly offering a Christian message of peace in the midst of turmoil. Tension and rest are overseen by the benevolent monumentality or, better, the monumental benevolence - of the gesturing Jesus. He has combined medieval line, Chinese cultural types, and modern artistic devices. There is a rich panoply of color throughout the picture surface: the vestments of many colors evoke a rainbow after the storm, or suggest multi-faceted light refracted from a prism.....
He Qi presents us with art that connects us to the biblical story in a fresh, even a surprising way. He is both story-teller and evangelist in his art. He is not only preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, but he is also conveying a message that transcends cultural types. In seeking to de-westernize the Christian story, he is trying to open our eyes to the universal implications of the larger and all-encompassing narrative of God's love for all creation.
It is expected that He Qi's work will appear on book covers, calendars, and other publications - just like the work of his old friend Watanabe.
THE IMAGE OF CHRIST IN CHINA: ART EXHIBITION BY HE QI
By Daniel Lee Kam Hung
Publisher & Editor-In-Chief
<CHRISTIAN TIMES> No.608,25 April 1999
Mixing Chinese folk art and modern art style, He Qi uses a Chinese artistic spirit to break the limits of time and space. He has incorporated many elements and positions to create a series of paintings of Bible stories, with a special focus on the life of Jesus.
Mellow and full, calm and straightforwardly sincere, He's work incorporates a riot of colors and rich compositions to portray images of Jesus Christ as a messenger of peace and rejoicing.
He Qi strongly expresses a type of aesthetics with peaceful and stable composition. As humankind approaches the end of this century with a jumble of conflicting emotions, He Qi affirms,
"We need to hear a peaceful voice from the angel in Heaven."
Today, He is more able to creatively express the deeper feelings of his inner soul. If art is to move people, it must first move the artist. We need more scholars and artists like He Qi who are able to stir the spirit and establish cultural strong points.
It is not easy to find an artist like He Qi who has produced so much Christian art in mainland China. The Hong Kong Christian Council is now holding the first in a series of Millennial events, THE IMAGE OF CHRIST IN CHINA - An Art Exhibition by He Qi. He's exhibition enables viewers to appreciate his creative process and the fruits of his efforts developed over many years. From the church's point of view, He's exhibition can be regarded as a new effort in propagating faith through cultural means.