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http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2017-07/10/content_30060670.htm

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Painter devotes artistry to protecting environment in Inner Mongolia

By Liu Hui | chinadaily.com.cn | 2017-07-10 19:11       
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An oil painting by Chinese artist Chen Jiqun is pictured, showing a woman standing alone and looking beyond a barbed-wire fence, in Dong Ujimqin Banner of Xilin Gol League, North China's Inner Mongolia autonomous region. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

The Ujimqin tribe has been living in Dong Ujimqin Banner of Xilin Gol League, North China's Inner Mongolia autonomous region, practicing their old nomadic ways for ages. However, since the 1970s, the industrialization and urbanization brought great changes to the lifestyles of the herdsmen.

Take the Ulagai River as an example; it originates in the Greater Hinggan Mountains in Northeast China, covering 320km. But by the end of the 1970s, several reservoirs had been built on its upper and mid reaches for fishery and industrial uses, which left the lower reaches subject to repeated droughts and desertification.

An oil painting by Chinese artist Chen Jiqun is pictured, presenting grassland scenery with wolf in the daytime in Dong Ujimqin Banner of Xilin Gol League, North China's Inner Mongolia autonomous region. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]


In 1967, artist Chen Jiqun relocated to the rolling grassland as an educated youth, also known as zhiqing, who left the urban districts to live and work in rural areas as part of the "Up to the Mountains and Down to the Countryside Movement" during the "cultural revolution" (1966-76).
Chen's artistic career was inspired by his 13-year stint in Dong Ujimqin Banner.

"I feel pained as I witness the Dong Ujimqin prairie degrading day-by-day," Chen said.

"With the deterioration of the ecology of the grassland, the traditional prairie culture is also vanished rapidly."

When asked about the treatment of the grassland, Chen said it is just like the skin. "If it had been destroyed or affected with cancer, it might not be easy to recover."

He added that joint efforts should be made to address the thorny issue faced across the grassland in Inner Mongolia autonomous region.

Nowadays, the 70-year-old, renowned for his oil paintings of portraits and landscapes, has devoted himself to preserving Inner Mongolia's environment, local people's rights and nomadic cultural traditions through the sale of his paintings.

A herdsman on horseback enjoys his nomadic lifestyle in Dong Ujimqin Banner of Xilin Gol League, North China's Inner Mongolia autonomous region, which was painted by Chen Jiqun. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]


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