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Experience becomes art as Yan puts himself into his work

( shanghaidaily.com ) 2014-12-30

Born into a rural family in Yanjiage village, Huating town, in 1937, Yan Yongfang has been fond of painting since he was a boy and often drew flowers and animals on the farm.

When he was at Huating Xinmiao Primary School, he took part in a regional painting and calligraphy competition with pupils from four or five other schools. All the contestants were required to create calligraphy and then paint an orange. Yan ranked second and was awarded a dozen pencils and some exercise books, which made him love painting even more.

After he left primary school, Yan became a farmer, but he didn't give up painting.

When he was 20, he became a breeder at a local pig farm. During his time there he painted a series of scenes of rural life, such as Dredge up Sludge from River under Moonlight, We Breed Fry by Ourselves, Dig Out Pupa and Grandma, We Have Two More Chicks. The works were all published in the newspaper Shanghai Suburban Farmers.

Yan's works were always close to life. In the summer of 1964, he was recommended by the Jiading County Cultural House to take part in a class on comics held by the Shanghai Mass Art Center. During the class, he created the Little Breeder based on his own experience on the pig farm. His work was exhibited at the Shanghai Art Museum. In the spring of 1965, it was also shown at the National Exhibition of Art Amateurs in the China Art Museum.

Cai Ruohong, former vice-president of the China Artists Association, wrote an article for the magazine Art introducing Yan's work.

MAIL TO DISTRICT CHIEFzxi@jiading.gov.cn

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Jiading Fahua Pagoda

The Fahua Pagoda, 40.8 meters tall, is a square, brick-wood structure with seven stories, accessible by ladders.