View the Image Slideshow for He Qi's Work (Opens a new window).
Artist: He Qi
Location: Stillwater, Minnesota, USA
Photos: He Qi Arts, LLC
Since 1983, Dr. He Qi has blended together Chinese folk customs and traditional Chinese painting techniques with the western art of the Middle and Modern Ages, thus creating a new form of Chinese Christian Art.
As a middle school student during the Cultural Revoluation in the early 1970s, He Qi learned to paint by copying portraits of Chairman Mao. One day he came across a very old copy of a magazine that contained a picture of Raphael's painting "Madonna and Child." He Qi was extremely moved by this painting. At the time of the Cultural Revolution, it was hard to find peace. When He Qi saw this picture, with the Madonna smiling and the baby Jesus smiling out at him, he was deeply moved and touched, feeling a great sense of peace. After this experience, He Qi made portraits of Chairman Mao by day, while he made copies of the "Madonna and Child" late at night. That was his first contact with Christianity and Christian art. From that encounter, he went on to find out more about the Christian faith. Dr. He Qi was the first among Mainland Chinese to earn a Ph.D. in religious art after the Cultural Revolution. He wrote his dissertation while studying at Hamburg Art Institute, where he was also able to pursue research in medieval art.
Paintings: To create his paintings, He Qi uses Japanese gouche paints and Chinese stone paints on rice paper.
Silk Tapestries: He Qi works with a group of Chinese silk weaves in a small town about an hour from Suzhou, to create silk tapestries of his images. The origin of Suzhou embroidery goes back more than 2,000 years. It is considered the finest of the three major styles of embroidery in China. It consists of very detailed representations of images hand embroidered onto fine silk with silk thread. The silk thread is dyed to match the colors in He Qi's paintings. Approximately one month of time is spent to weave each of these tapestries.