Guest / Limited Access /

A teenager at the launch of the Cultural Revolution, Chinese artist He Qi (pronounced huh chee) is fast gaining world recognition for his paintings, which are almost exclusively depictions of biblical events.

The witty, reverent paintings are full of the symbolism of Beijing Opera, medieval-style hidden messages, and modernist plays on perspective and time. And He is introducing a new idiom for biblical art, one influenced by, but not part of, the European traditions. His website says, "He hopes to help change the 'foreign image' of Christianity in China by using artistic language, and at the same time, to supplement Chinese art the way Buddhist art did in ancient times."

He's work is gaining more and more attention in the West. He has exhibited in the U.S., the U.K., Switzerland, Germany, Canada, Japan, and Hong Kong, as well as in mainland China. In 2006, Overseas Ministry Study Center collected his work in Look Toward the Heavens, and he is now working on an ambitious project: an illustrated Bible. It's an unlikely project for the son of a non-Christian mathematics professor.

"It's a long story," He begins. His father's university in Nanjing was shut down during the Cultural Revolution of 1966. As a teenager, He was sent by the Communist Party to a communal farm to undo the un-Communist effects of city life and his parents' intellectualism.

"The physical labor was very hard, very, very hard." He Qi said. "But I was a clever boy. I was looking for something to let me avoid such very hard farm work."

He saw an opportunity in the party's desire to make Mao Zedong's image ubiquitous. "In the Cultural Revolution in every corner in China, people worshiped Chairman Mao. Even in the countryside, in the fields, they asked artists to ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Read These NextSee Our Latest
Current IssueReply All
Subscriber Access Only Reply All
Responses to our May issue via letters, tweets, and Facebook posts.
RecommendedTim Keller and John Inazu: How Christians Can Bear Gospel Witness in an Anxious Age
Tim Keller and John Inazu: How Christians Can Bear Gospel Witness in an Anxious Age
Our confidence in the gospel spurs us to serve our communities, not to shrink back when they decide they no longer need us.
TrendingWho’s Who of Trump’s ‘Tremendous’ Faith Advisers
Who’s Who of Trump’s ‘Tremendous’ Faith Advisers
The Republican candidate finally names his campaign’s evangelical connections.
Editor's PickCome Out of Your Gender-Role Foxholes
Come Out of Your Gender-Role Foxholes
How men and women can have better conversations about leadership, love, and life together.
Christianity Today
From Mao to Moses
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

April 2008

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.