Gallery of good works

Updated: 2013-07-02 06:19

By Pauline D. Loh (China Daily)

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 Gallery of good works

Zhou Chunya's Exquisite Jade Rock is part of the "Five Scenes of Yu Garden". Provided to China Daily

The painting makes you stop in your tracks. It is a mass of vegetative growth with a hint of red rooftops peeking through layers of briars and vines. It is a study in depth and perception and is almost photographic in its detailing. It also looks like the castle before Sleeping Beauty's prince hacked through the brambles and carried her off with a kiss.

Indeed, this is a fairytale land, but it is Shangri-la.

In fact, it is the Jing An Shangri-la in West Shanghai, the hotel group's latest addition and its flagship, officially opened last Saturday.

The 5.9-meter-by-2.9-meter painting guarding the hotel entrance was specially commissioned and is the work of one of China's most famous contemporary artists, Zeng Fanzhi.

Up two levels, a series of seven paintings on the "Five Scenes of Yu Garden" are hung in the halls of the hotel's event center. The subject is Shanghai's famous Yu Yuan, the iconic garden that has become so representative of the city.

The paintings are by Zhou Chunya, another contemporary master of modern Chinese painting, known for his Green Dog series.

The works of the two Chinese artists will join a collection of more than 200 pieces strategically displayed throughout the hotel, with some larger installations at the adjoining Kerry Center mall and office towers.

According to senior executives, the hotel's art collection was carefully selected from four continents and includes the works of 12 Chinese artists. An art guide is currently being compiled that will enable guests to locate and appreciate each piece, very much like an art museum catalogue.

The Jing An Shangri-la is in a choice location full of historical sites. In the shadow of its tower block is the Jing An Temple. Further along the street are the old residences of famous author Zhang Ailing and the equally iconic actress Ruan Lingyu. A former residence of Chairman Mao Zedong has also been carefully preserved at a corner of the site.

(China Daily USA 07/02/2013 page8)