We would never have thought to look for the town of Shuangxi on a map if it were not the home of the International Art Education Center for the Disabled. What kind of resources allowed the Center to use the terms International and Disabled? What beliefs does its founder, Zhenglu Lin, hold? It was with these questions in mind that we set off for Shuangxi Town, Pingnan County, in the city of Ningde in China’s Fujian Province.
Three Lives Changed
At the Center, we met three people with disabilities whose lives were changed through the Center’s art program: Fawang Yang, Meilan Xue, and Minghui Shen.
Fawang Yang is well known by local government leaders and the China Disabled Person’s Federation (CDPF). His paralyzed right hand made it impossible for him to do farm work; with no parents or a home, he was forced to survive by begging in the streets. When he was unable to scrounge enough to get by, he would seek help at various local government organizations.
The local CDPF brought Yang to the Center to learn to paint. Gradually, with the encouragement of Lin, Yang opened his heart to paint the world that he sees.
He paints familiar things in his life: mountains, water and trees. The more he paints, the more he finds his own style. In a painting titled “Life Flower Mountain,” he depicts the mountain as flat and green and decorated with pink flowers. One flower occupies half the canvas, representing a culmination of all the flowers on the mountain as seen through his eyes. The piece reflects a contemporary, post-Impressionist style. His art is surprising to those who generally regard painting as an upper-class activity.
In as quickly as five months though, Yang is earning between $600-$750 per month through online sales of his paintings. He gave some of his works to local leaders as gifts and proudly told them: “I will not come back for money anymore!”
by Ying Li This story is part of a series of articles published as an exclusive editorial exchange between China Press for People with Disabilities & Spring Breeze and ABILITY Magazine.
Meilan Xue, who is part of the Center’s first group of students, saw her seemingly impossible ...To read the full article, login or become a member --- it's free!
by Ying Li
This story is part of a series of articles published as an exclusive editorial exchange between China Press for People with Disabilities & Spring Breeze and ABILITY Magazine.