The China Cultural Center at the Pakistan National Council of the Arts has launched two free programs for the public: Tai Chi Training and Chinese Ink-Wash Painting classes for children. An opening ceremony for the painting classes, featuring a live demonstration of ink-wash painting, took place on 22nd November, 2017.
Before the ceremony began, the Tai Chi classes, which began on 20th November, could be observed taking place in the courtyard. The training class seems to have had a phenomenal response, with students of all ages present. Inside the China Cultural Centre, the opening ceremony for ink-wash painting began with a speech by cultural counselor, Mr. You Yi. Other dignitaries at the ceremony included Ms. Li Shuo, Deputy Director of China Cultural Centre and Mr. Zhu Yong, teacher of ink-wash painting. Students of Pak-Turk School, Roots Millennium School and Islamabad College of Arts and Sciences attended the ceremony, and later on presented performances about Pak-China friendship.
Chinese ink-wash painting is said to have originated during the 5th century under the Song dynasty. Traditionally, the paintings were created out of black ink and water, but the inclusion of colour came about in the 8th century, due to the works of the poet Wang Wei. Generally, the strokes are broad and the paintings depict landscapes. Every painting is supposed to convey the spirit of the subject, rather than be a realistic reproduction of it.
Mr. Zhu Yong, who belongs to Jiangsu province of China, has taught ink-wash painting for more than 30 years. He began his live demonstration by claiming that he had a mental image of what he was going to paint; a significant aspect of such paintings since alterations cannot be made later on. Children encircled the table, eager to learn from the master. The main colour used by Mr. Zhu Yong was black ink. He painted mountains, a common subject of ink-wash work, depicting the far away ones in faded grey tones, by using more water. He then painted what he termed as ‘dancing trees.’ Time and again, he would change his brushes and stroking techniques, to achieve the desired effect. With bright red and yellow ink, he added flowers to the dancing trees. He explained that the plain whites represented water, to which he added some boats. Eventually, he shaded the mountains with murky blues and greens, and sprinkled some white ink droplets as a finishing touch.
Traditional Chinese ink-wash painting is an essential part of Chinese culture, and these classes are being organized so that the next generation can carry it forward. The classes will encourage children to paint and give them a chance to experience the magic of ink.
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