A few days ago my landlord texted me a message that I didn’t quite understand (because it was all in Chinese and I was unfamiliar with some of the words). After a little deciphering, I realized that it was an invitation to attend an art exhibition of his work at the Kunming library. I remembered him saying that he was a middle school art teacher, but I had no idea that he was also a professional artist. I texted him on Friday morning and said that I could come, and he enthusiastically replied that he was waiting for me!
His wife held my arm as she guided me around the gallery and asked me which paintings I liked best. I thought they were all beautiful and just kept repeating that to her, partly because they were, and partly because my Chinese vocabulary doesn’t allow for a much deeper critique.
After walking around the 30+ paintings, I sat down and was chatting with some of his other artist friends and former students. I asked him where he painted, and he said at home, and all of the pictures of the peacocks etc were just created from his imagination. Amaaaazing. He explained to me that at this exhibition he was selling his pictures to raise money for charity. I saw one that was priced at 35,000 yuan (aka out of my price range). I jokingly said that when he has free time, he should give me a lesson! Maybe that way I can snag an original piece of his work without paying big bucks.
I’m feeling rather cultured this week, because last night I also went to an art exhibition opening at a local bar. Kunming has a pretty hopping art and music scene, which I can’t wait to explore more.