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Colorful creations

Updated: 2013-04-12 16:29
By Chen Nan (

Colorful creations

Chen Xiao and his China Totem Pole design at China Town, Auckland. Photo provided to China Daily

The world, in painter Chen Xiao's eyes, is as colorful and sweet as ice cream. He tells Chen Nan the stories behind his intensely hued masterpieces.

Artist Chen Xiao's paintings are inspired by an ice cream.

At the opening of his latest exhibition, Colorful World in the Eyes of Sean Chen, at the National Museum of China recently, the artist told his story.

Chen left China for Australia in 1986 to seek artistic freedom, and like many new immigrants then, he had little money in his pocket. To make ends meet, he drew portraits of people on the harbor in front of Sydney Opera House.

Every day, he saw people buying ice cream from a booth. Chen couldn't help wondering: "It must taste great, that's why so many people buy it."

But, he hesitated to buy one for himself because he had to save money to pay his tuition fee. After four months of painting there and watching people eating ice cream, Chen finally succumbed to his curiosity — he bought an ice cream.

"The first bite took me to heaven," Chen recalls while laughing. "You know, as a poor young man pursuing artistic dream in a new country, buying an ice cream was a luxury then."

Since then, he kept the taste of the ice cream in his heart and converted the happy and contented feelings into his paintings, which turn out to be colorful and sweet.

His 44 oil painting works on display portray the natural sceneries and buildings in New Zealand, and those in his home country, such as iconic architectures of the capital: National Center for Performing Arts, CCTV building and Bird Nest.

His current exhibition is part of his nationwide tour that kicked off at National Art Museum of China in Beijing in 2011. He plans to bring his artworks to 24 cities around China by 2015.

The exhibition at National Museum of China will last until April 22.

After the exhibition tour, he will sell his works through an auction and all the proceeds will be donated toward environment protection in China.

"The natural environment of New Zealand has inspired my artwork and brought me enjoyment. I hope people in my home country can enjoy the same beautiful environment as I do," says Chen, who has made New Zealand his home for the last 26 years.

Colorful creations

Colorful creations

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Chinese artist Chen Xiao adds color to Beijing's spring by launching his solo exhibition, Colorful World in the Eyes of Sean Chen. Chen's paintings combine colors and images inspired by New Zealand, where he has been living for nearly 30 years, and his home country. Chen moved to New Zealand in 1988 and graduated from the visual arts department at Elam School of Fine Arts, Auckland University. Chen paints buildings and landscapes with colorful brush strokes. An exhibition of his paintings will tour China for four years and will end with an auction. All money will be donated to China's environmental protection organizations.

9 am-5 pm, April 9-22. National Museum of China, East of Tian'anmen Square, Beijing. 010-6511-6400.

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