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
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
"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]