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Ma Changli's oil works show daily life in warm hues

By LIN QI | China Daily | Updated: 2021-09-28 09:12
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Ma Changli is holding a solo show at the Central Academy of Fine Arts to review his creations on canvas over the past six decades. Highlights include On the Grassland. [Photo provided to China Daily] 

The exhibition shows seminal works from Ma's series of paintings of Tibetans whose lives changed following the peaceful liberation of Tibet.

His depictions of Tibetan women engaging in daily work are probably more popular than any other subject in his oeuvre.

Ma visited the Tibet autonomous region and villages inhabited by Tibetans in Sichuan and Qinghai provinces many times. He stayed with locals in their tents and observed how they lived, worked and celebrated festivals.

His painting at the exhibition, On the Grassland, shows three women beating butter to prepare buttered tea.

Fan Di'an, the CAFA dean, says that in the artwork, the women's movements to lower their bodies and stir yak milk present a strong sense of rhythm, echoing with a "dance of the clouds" in the extensive sky in the backdrop and, by looking at it, viewers can picture in their mind a scene of animation and happiness.

Ma recalls that he once saw a Tibetan woman beat butter while singing, and he asked to try it out himself. "I took over the wooden stick and managed just several stirs. It exhausted me. The woman took back the stick and continued the work with ease. I felt utter respect for her and the others."

Ma's landscapes, particularly those made since the 1980s, show his intention to be "a singer for nature", Fan says.

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