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Painting: A bright spot in the night

Updated: 2015-10-13 08:44:35

( China Daily )

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The work was created to support the Special Olympics. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Viewed as a leading artist of his generation, Jia Aili's works often feature a pessimistic palette and a dark vision that he, however, interprets as the meaning of hope. Beijing-based Jia, 36, conveyed the same message, but in vibrant colors this time, in support of the Special Olympics, which are organized to better the life of people with mental disabilities.

Jia's painting, titled Brightening World, sold for 2.62 million yuan at a Sotheby's auction on Oct 4 in Hong Kong.

All proceeds from the sale will benefit Special Olympics' several development programs in China.

In the painting, Jia portrays a chaotic world gripped by some unknown power, presenting terrifying images of disaster and distorted figures. At the center is a lonely schoolboy who wears a gas mask and sits with his back to the viewers. Blue dominates the color scheme, communicating what the artist intended as the "great doubt of the future".

The image of the masked boy recurs in Jia's many paintings, seen as an incarnation of his inner child. The artist has even turned that imagined figure into an installation and placed it at his studio as a longtime companion.

The gas mask speaks of his sensitivity to people's dilemma: it seems to defend people from the dangers of bad air but at the same time prevents them from freely breathing the fresh air.

Jia was born in Dandong city in Northeast China's Liaoning province, which borders the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

Brightening World derived from a recollection that Jia heard from his grandmother in childhood. She vividly remembered a scene from the 1950-53 Korean War.

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