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Israeli artist paints vivid pictures of Shanghai

Xinhua | Updated: 2023-04-21 08:12
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People who visited Abraham Hostel in downtown Tel Aviv before Saturday may have found an industrial-style underground gallery, decorated with artistic paintings about China and Israel. But for Israeli artist Sveta Dorosheva, the exhibition served as an opportunity to highlight her love for Shanghai.

The exhibition featured portions devoted to Dorosheva's stay in Shanghai, a personal project carried out over a decade about her experience as an immigrant in Israel, and a series of surreal-looking illustrations.

Although the monthlong exhibition ended on Saturday, Dorosheva says her crush for Shanghai will linger.

Back in the summer of 2018, Dorosheva was invited to Shanghai to participate in an art project, where contemporary artists from around the world gathered together.

Living in one of the most well-known cities in China for three months, she found herself submerged in a sea of overwhelming emotions, which became inspiration for her future realism-style artistic pieces.

Bustling streets, dazzling skyscrapers, and the convenient and comfortable way of life in terms of fast delivery and cashless payment are major draws to those visiting Shanghai for the first time, including Dorosheva.

"In Shanghai, I found that the reality around me was so fantastic that I didn't really want to mix it with anything my feeble imagination could offer. So I just drew the reality of what I have seen in Shanghai as a foreigner," Dorosheva says.

In the Shanghai series of her paintings, there are pieces illustrating old people chatting around a street corner, stylish young pedestrians holding shopping bags, deliverymen in a rush, and women dressed in hanfu (a traditional Chinese style of clothing) cosplay costumes. The scenes, commonly seen in Chinese cities, are incorporated with artistic beauty by Dorosheva.

Recalling her first painting created in Shanghai, Dorosheva says that she had planned to use watercolors, but when she went to Fuzhou Road, often considered the "Cultural Street" of Shanghai, the wide variety of Chinese painting tools took her breath away. "I would spend all my money," she says.

The encounter with traditional Chinese painting inspired Dorosheva to embark on a new creative journey. During her stay in Shanghai, she finished a total of 15 paintings and continued to draw another 15 pieces after leaving the city, all on Chinese-style xuan paper and done with a brush dipped in black ink and colored pigments, just like traditional Chinese paintings.

Besides the Shanghai series, her Tel Aviv series in watercolors was also shown. Although the two series adopt different tools and techniques, they are both based on the life scenes of ordinary people, seeking to describe the most authentic parts of human beings.

"I just thought I don't have to invent anything, and I don't have to be creative. I can approach it as raw reality," she says, adding that as an immigrant herself, Tel Aviv and Shanghai brought her similar feelings.

Ira Krokhmal, the exhibition's curator, says that she had never been to Shanghai, yet was well aware that people always compare Shanghai to Tel Aviv because both are national economic centers full of modern vitality.

Besides painting, Dorosheva published a book featuring her wonderful stay in Shanghai in her mother tongue Russian, so as to make her Shanghai memory more complete and diverse.

"In Shanghai, she grapples with two new realities, not one: that of the flamboyant, unimaginable Shanghai, and the extravagant, impenetrable world of contemporary art," reads the synopsis of the book.

Yana Gorelik, a Russian-Israeli who came to the exhibition after reading the book, said that Shanghai is depicted in the book as modern, prosperous and full of human kindness.

"It is my dream since childhood to go to visit this beautiful country. Now I see how she sees it. I think it's much more than I have imagined, and I would like to go to see China by myself," she says.

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