Thu, Apr 20, 2017 - Page 4 News List

Pingtung painter entranced by hometown shows works

By Lo Hsin-chen and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

National Pingtung University graduate arts student Cheng Kai-hsiang on Tuesday stands next his works at an exhibition in the schools’ visual arts department.

Photo: Lo Hsin-chen, Taipei Times

National Pingtung University is hosting an exhibition for art student Cheng Kai-hsiang (鄭開翔), a military veteran who says he is entranced with the beauty of Pingtung and landscape painting.

Cheng, 35 — who earned an undergraduate degree in art from the military’s Fu Hsing Kang College, served 10 years as a commissioned officer and is now a graduate student in the university’s visual arts master’s program — hopes to introduce his hometown to a wider audience with his paintbrush.

Cheng said he specializes in capturing fleeting impressions from a moment in life in paintings that he creates on the spot, and his favorite pastime is to wander the streets of Pingtung in search of visually striking scenes to paint.

Many people do not take the time to observe and reflect on beautiful things in daily life, he said, adding that he hopes his work will encourage people to create art instead of taking photographs with cellphones.

The exhibition is to feature 60 watercolors and sketches, 50 of which depict scenes from Pingtung’s past and present.

Cheng’s works show a concern for modernity’s impact on Pingtung’s residents and landscape, such as the effect of air pollution on night market customers, the demolition of a railroad underpass near a night market and the changing layout of the city.

Last month, Cheng’s watercolor Cool Inside, portraying an eponymous shaved-ice store in Pingtung, was published in T-Life, Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp’s monthly brochure.

“A resident of Tainan or New Taipei City’s Jiufen District (九份) would not be the least bit surprised that their hometown was introduced in a magazine. The fact that Pingtung residents are excited about it speaks to the underrepresentation of Pingtung,” Cheng said.

He said he returned to Pingtung three years ago feeling like “a fake Pingtung resident,” a perception that motivated him to learn about his hometown through paintbrush and pencil.

“I hope the day I become a genuine Pingtung man is coming,” he said.

The exhibition of Cheng’s works is on display at the Visual Arts Department on the university’s Linsen Campus.

It runs through Thursday next week.

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