Unique Chinese art on display at Windsor's Sho gallery

A collection of traditional Chinese brush and ink paintings is being shown in Windsor to celebrate the birthday of Confucius.
Zhang Yan is one of four artists whose paintings are being displayed a the Sho Gallery. (Stacy Janzer/CBC)

A collection of traditional Chinese brush and ink paintings is being shown in Windsor to celebrate the birthday of Confucius.

The Confucius Institute at the University of Waterloo connected with the Chinese Cultural Institute of Windsor to show some of the unique works in an exhibit called Moon, Wind, Pine at Sho Gallery on Monmouth Road.

Confucius was an influential Chinese teacher, politician and philosopher who died more than 2,000 years ago.

At the same time, the exhibit will also run at the University of Waterloo. The exhibit features the work of four Chinese artists.

"Landscapes, florals and portraits, and it's the first time they'll be appearing in North America," said Barry Brode, with the Sho Gallery.

Art goers will hear the stories and experience the culture that go along with the paintings.

"We'll have traditional Chinese dance and the presentation of Chinese poetry, in English, but it will be at least a way for the Western audience to sort of enter into the paintings."

Local Chinese artist part of exhibit

Zhang Yan, who now lives in Windsor, is the only local artist whose work is being showcased.

It wasn't a happy time for Yan when she and her family first arrived to Canada.
The exhibit of cultural Chinese paintings is in celebration of the birthday of Confucius, a Chinese philosopher. This is one of Zhang Yan's paintings, a local Windsor artist. (Stacy Janzer/CBC )

"My husband just [did] general labour to support my family, but we are very lucky. After 10 months I found a job," she said. "I got work as a graphic designer."

Like so many immigrants, Yan's family moved here for a better life, and found it would not be so easy.

"It's a tough time," she said. "We, our language, has a barrier and [people] don't think we're qualified for the job because we don't have any local degree.

"In the beginning I felt very frustrated, because I couldn't see my value."

So Yan went back to painting, which she said started to make her feel at home.

"The stroke, the colour," she explained. "I feel very happy with it. So I think that the painting is my true passion."

The exhibit starts Friday night and runs through Oct.12.


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