Painting History: China’s Revolution in a Global Context

by Jiawei Shen


"Shen Jiawei may be best known for having created one of the most iconic art works from the Cultural Revolution, but his body of history paintings spanning the last forty years explained in this book are much more than that. Bearing the impact of his experiences in Australia where he migrated to in 1989, Shen's paintings address broader global issues and are, if anything, portraits of our time. These are the visual recordings of the world from his own perspective. At a moment when many can see China's geopolitical rise in importance, this book offers us a way to see the world from a different cultural vantage point." —Melissa Chiu, Director, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C.

"Shen Jiawei is one of the few artists today willing to call himself a history painter, having spent five decades engaging closely with Chinese and global events. In China Shen stretched the boundaries of what he was permitted to paint. In Australia the only limits were those of his own imagination. Never content to simply record history he has taken a rigorously critical, analytical approach to the great movements and great figures that have shaped our world. This is true of his writing no less than his painting, and he has given us the rarest of books: a masterful history lesson by a master artist." —John McDonald, Art Critic, The Sydney Morning Herald

"This book chronicles Shen Jiawei’s extraordinary journey from youthful propaganda artist in the 1970s, to official painter of historical scenes, wry observer of China and the world, and now portraitist and Australian national treasure, with examples of works from the various phases of his career. The essays accompanying the paintings demonstrate his understanding of his subjects' lives and his scholarly attitude in his art." —Richard King, University of Victoria


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