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A brush with originality

Updated: 2021-12-03 08:05 ( China Daily Global )
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Visitors appreciate the extensive work of the late artist Yang Gang at A Journey to Freedom, an exhibition at the National Art Museum in Beijing. It runs until Sunday. [PHOTO BY JIANG DONG/CHINA DAILY]

Exhibition at National Art Museum pays homage to artist's talent, versatility and innate honesty, Lin Qi reports.

In the twilight of his life, Yang Gang, who had been diagnosed with cancer, told people that he dreamed of holding a solo exhibition at the National Art Museum of China to present his art and showcase his career spanning several decades.

Aged 73, Yang died in April 2019, and unfortunately didn't get to see his wish fulfilled.

Thanks to the efforts of his family and friends, along with colleagues at Beijing Fine Art Academy where he was a resident painter, A Journey to Freedom, which runs at the National Art Museum until Sunday, unveils the comprehensive scope of Yang's art. This aspect of his oeuvre-the full extent of his art-has, thus far, remained in the shadow of his former schoolmates at the High School Affiliated to the Central Academy of Fine Arts, such as Ai Xuan and Wang Huaiqing.

The exhibition was named by Yang himself as an expression of "his exploration of the world of art with no confinement to rigid doctrines, and sourcing inspiration from the cultural traditions of the East and the West and of the past and the present", says Dong Zhenghe, Yang's wife and a calligrapher in her own right.

On show are some 160 artworks that reflect Yang's versatility, sincerity and modesty. His family donated 30 pieces to the National Art Museum at the exhibition's opening.

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