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Art of love

Updated: 2013-06-03 10:02
By Chen Yingqun ( China Daily)

Art of love

Yang and her husband Yang Yan. Photos Provided to China Daily

It was love at first sight for African Neneh Ada Yang and her Chinese husband Yang Yan. They share the same passion for painting and have jointly exhibited their works. Chen Yingqun reports.

Two years ago Neneh Ada Yang knew nothing about China, but today her talent for Chinese art impresses even masters in the field. "I'm very proud that I might be the only African that can paint Chinese art (and hold exhibition in China)," she says with a smile, sitting in her Beijing art studio surrounded by paintings of trees, flowers and towering mountains.

The 26-year-old, who couldn't understand any Chinese when she arrived in China in 2011, is now skilled in several traditional Chinese art forms, including Peking Opera, calligraphy and the seven-stringed guqin.

But her specialty is in traditional Chinese painting, which is distinguished from Western art in that it uses xuan paper, a high-quality paper made for painting and calligraphy, or silk, with a special brush, ink and paint made from mineral and vegetable pigments. Some of her work has been good enough to be exhibited in the National Museum of China.

Many people come to China in search of the exotic, but for Yang it was a relationship with Chinese landscape painter Yang Yan, who visited Africa in April 2011, that brought her to the country.

"I was a third-year college student learning business administration in Sierra Leone," she says. "The only thing I knew about China was the kung fu star Jackie Chan, whom I had seen in movies."

Yang and Yang Yan met through friends and soon fell for each other, even though they did not speak a common language.

For the 55-year-old Yang Yan, it was a romance he'd been waiting for 20 years after seeing a sculpture of an African girl. When he saw Yang, instinct told him this was the woman he'd been waiting for.

Yang was also drawn to this man with a long beard. "The first time I saw him, I was attracted to him," she says.

"He is very different. He likes to visit different places and mingle with people. Even though he doesn't speak English, he could still have fun with people, with action. He also likes nature."

Art of love

Art of love

 Fresh-faced art  Global presence

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