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【动态】“他们吃着阳间饭,干着阴间活”——一份特殊的劳动礼赞 | Immortalizing China's coal miners

2017-09-22 14:59:03 来源:CGTN CGTNOfficial作者:

  Using very little water and thick ink, ancient Chinese painters illustrated the world around them using strong-ink, or dry-ink, painting. Over 5,000 years later, the art form still lives with the help of artist Lin Lanzi.


  The strokes used in strong-ink are thick and rich, giving a rough, hard feeling to the painting. Lin Lanzi chose to employ this technique to portray a group of people near to his heart: coal miners.


  Lin Lanzi's personal experience left him an intimate connection with coal miners: "I used to be an engineering corps. My job was to blast mountains and dig tunnels, which is very similar to the work of coal miners." He lived with the miners, had conversations with them, and even went down into the shafts with them. In the dark shafts, miners were all covered in soot, which concealed almost all their features and made it difficult to tell one person from the other. Eventually, soot-covered faces became part of their identity.


  Lin Lanzi used his brush to truthfully and accurately present the miners'features. The thick ink that molded the miners' faces highlighted their white teeth; this speck of white preserved some of their personal features behind their collective identities as miners. By using strong-ink painting, the labor-beaten faces of the miners were depicted much more vividly.


  Working in the shafts can be very dangerous; the lives of miners were constantly threatened by gas explosions and flooding. However, they continue working here, eating only steamed buns for lunch, to create a better life for their children. Lin Lanzi was deeply moved by their simple wish, "they work in the hell of darkness to bring light to others."


  Slowly, Lin Lanzi befriended the miners. They became less timid and shy before him, allowing him to capture them at their most relaxed and natural states.


  Miners today live different lives from those back then. Aside from better working conditions, there has been a shift in the workers' age group. Most miners today are young adults who play basketball or enjoy other activities outside of work. These young and lively faces have also appeared in Lin Lanzi's pieces.


  Lin Lanzi compiled these portraits into an album, The Song of the Coal Miners, published in June 2009 by the People's Fine Arts Publishing House. The media that commented on his album wrote, "For the first time in history, large-scale portraits for coal miners have been created. The painter portrayed these miners like the murals of Dunhuang and religious figures of the Renaissance."


  The solemn, vivid faces of the coal miners created under Lin Lanzi's strokes represent much more than just that. By using an ancient technique, he documented things that are easily overlooked by others, thus completing a profile on contemporary workers in China.


  Cameraman: Wang Yunfei

  Film editing: Zhou Xin, Zhang Haifeng

  Story written by: Zhu Siqi

  English editor: Matthew Watson, John Goodrich