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19 February 2008

Huixuan Zhao

Huixuan Zhao: My name is Huixuan Zhao and Zhao is the family name so because in Chinese traditional way we put surname before the first name.

And I grew up in Beijing and I was born in Beijing.

My family, we have four people: my parents and my younger brother. He is 20 years old and he's studying law in Beijing.

I'm married for four years and my husband is called Inan and he's a very lovely man and he's very supportive for my career.

We came to live in Adelaide because Inan is studying IT here.

I think I prefer to live here because I think people are very kind and they help me a lot. Here is very clean.

I studied art in Beijing. I travelled around west and south of China and I went to some temples and some historical sites.

I saw some murals and I thought it was very attractive for me and magnificent for me and so I fall in love with murals.

And the mural is just gong bi, so I thought, 'I can do that'. So I studied gong bi painting.

Gong bi is a traditional style of Chinese painting. It has 2000 year history. 'Gong' comes from Chinese word 'gong juang' and that means 'neat, fine'.

I use [unclear] technique which is the basic training of gong bi painting and
I also do the colour layer by layer, to get the right colour.

To get some darker colour I probably will do eight or nine times. For some light colour maybe just three or four layers.

I don't use a easel because I need the surface to be flat otherwise the paint runs.

I paint on silk with Chinese watercolour which are the most traditional Chinese art materials.

All my art materials are from China because you can't find anything here.

I have to ask my parents to mail some for me.

I have to explain what is good quality and they will go to the market and find some for me.

I mix Chinese traditional style with modern composition and that particularly shows on my portraits such as face, hands and the body but I paint those fabric and clothes by traditional way.

I had exhibition at Art Images Gallery.

There were many people there and I was very surprised and the director of the gallery said he hadn't seen so many people round there on opening so I was very happy about that.

And many of my friends were there so they were very supportive for me.

There is a piece called Harmony and the pigeon and the vase and the girl harmonise to show a peaceful region, and that girl is dressed in traditional Chinese clothes, is called 'ti pau' in Chinese, and nowadays Chinese people can still wear that kind of Chinese traditional clothes for some special occasions.

The lotus is one of my favourite flowers and traditionally the lotus symbolise the pureness and the spotless in Chinese custom.

I'm teaching gong bi painting. My student is a local girl. Her name is Leesa.

Leesa Martinsen: Probably one of the things that I've personally learned from painting with Huixuan is to be a lot more calm and take my time and to be delicate and gentle. Gong bi is very much all those things, very harmonious and gentle and delicate.