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A unique art form celebrates the splendors of Antarctica

By Wang Kaihao | China Daily | Updated: 2017-06-06 07:41

A porcelain piece is among the works by Wang Xuyuan at a recent show during the 40th Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting in Beijing. [Photo provided to China Daily]

His lines are simple and symbolic but the colors are abundant. It is difficult to categorize his work because it looks like a combination of painting, calligraphy and architecture.

This is hanshu, which translates as "Han people's calligraphy".

A former urban designer who helped nurture Shanghai's Lujiazui to become a world-class financial center in the 1990s, Wang Xuyuan, a 60-year Shanghai native, prefers "big pictures".

During the 40th Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting, which was held in Beijing in late May, Wang showcased about 30 of his paperwork and porcelain pieces at the conference venue to portray the breathtaking landscapes of Antarctica.

For example, a painting showing icebergs was created using the Chinese character shan (mountain), while paintings of penguins were abstract expressions of the Chinese characters qi'e (penguin). Other works represented ice caves and auroras.

He attributes his art to a visit to the Shanghai-based Polar Research Institute of China five years ago.

"I was immediately hooked by the animals and scenery shown in pictures and videos," says Wang. "For me, Antarctica felt like a dream.

"Research in Antarctica needs to go beyond professionals. The public deserves to know more, and artists can be the bridge."

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