Visual Arts: Cameroon As Seen By A Chinese Oil Painter

“Unusual Impression” was published in China in 2016 by Huang Jianbing.


Chinese oil painter, Huang Jianbing, 43, has lived in Cameroon since 2003. He first came as a tourist, but decided to reside “permanently” after falling in love with the country. During the May 19, 2017 celebration of Cameroon’s National Day in China, Jianbing’s paintings were conspicuous at the venue in Beijing. Born in 1974 in Fuqing City, Fujian Province, Jianbing, who is also a textile and shoe merchant in Akwa, Douala, in 2015 took an advanced seminar in Western Traditional Oil Painting at the China Central Academy of Fine Arts.

He has so far held two exhibitions in China and taken part in two others. In September 2016, Jianbing published “Unusual Impression,” an 80-page, glossy book with hard cover in Chinese and English. The work, which is the first of a two-part series, contains 47 of his paintings – 39 of them on Cameroon. It was published by Até Wang, an online Chinese portal.  “I will hold my first exhibition in Cameroon next December after the publication of the second volume on my works, which will contain 100 paintings. After this, I will do a combined publication of the two works for distribution to the public,” Jianbing told Cameroon Tribune on June 3, 2017 in the Chinese capital, Beijing, through Cameroonian-born Chinese language interpreter, Hermann Louis. The author of “Unusual Impression” is indeed an unusual visual artist.

“I printed 1,000 copies at over 2.5 Million FCFA and less than 100 are left now. Painting to me is a public art. This is why my book is given out free to raise awareness. The combined book on my paintings to be published in 2018 will still be for free. I want people to discover Cameroon through my works,” Jianbing underscored. “Unusual Impression” reflects “true realism, the colour of fauvism, the structure of post-impressionism, the mystery of symbolism and many other artistic styles …,” says Shao Qi in the foreword.

Wang Duanting, a reviewer, suggests that the book can be divided into two major parts: “One is the daily life of Cameroonians. The language used here and the depicted objects are simple, with strong natural realism characteristics … The other part contains neo-expressionist paintings. Their simple shapes, bright colours, with strong visual impact, convey emotional warmth and depth. This is the communion of the emotional world from the artist’s inner mind to the painted figures …,” Duanting notes.

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