Artwork has no national boundary, but an artist always has his nationality," says He Qi (pronounced ho-chee) of China.
Though a fine-art citizen of the world, He chooses to continue living in his native country. "I love my homeland because my life, my rejoicing, and my suffering have been closely linked with it."
He also loves something more than his homeland. During the Cultural Revolution, He was in the countryside painting images of Mao Zedong. One day he saw Raphael's Madonna and Child in an old magazine.
"I was very moved by the softness of the Virgin's smile," he told William McGurn of Far Eastern Economic Review (Feb. 26, 1998). "Everywhere around me people claimed to be seeking truth but had their knives out."
Raphael's painting alone did not convert He, although it did capture his imagination. "There are two different ways in China for a person to become a Christian," he says. "One is by the strong influence from his family background; another way is by his own choice 'step by step.' I belong to the second way."
He has done doctoral studies in Europe and has been an artist in residence in the United States. Currently he is artist in residence and professor at Nanjing Theological Seminary.
For more information on He Qi, visit the Web site of the Asian Christian Art Association (www.asianchristianart.org).
Some of his works are available through Ellison Bay Gallery in Wisconsin, owned by Brian and Jeanee Linden (BLinden@embark.com).
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