Victor Zhang Artist
Upon graduation Victor received a Bachelor Degree with Honors in 1953 from the Central Academy of Fine Arts and journeyed to far North West China, Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang Province to join the Office of Fine Arts Bureau of Culture. Urumqi is 320 km from the Eurasian Pole of Inaccessibility (Point Nocean), the point on land farthest from any ocean. Xinjiang literally means New Frontier or New Dominion, a key point in the Silk Route and a region of strategic importance throughout the ages. Xinjiang is a junction of four great cultures, Chinese, Indian, Islamic and Greco-Roman and shares a border with Mongolia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and the Chinese provinces Tibet Autonomous Region, Qinghai and Gansu. Xinjiang accounts for one-sixth of China’s land, a frontier region with numerous Eurasian and ethnic groups including the Uighurs, Hui, Han, Mongolians, Khalkha, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Daur, Uzbeks, Dongxiang, Pamiris, Xibe, Tungusic-speaking Manchu and Sibos, Tajiks, Tatars, Russians, and Tahurs.
Victor lived there for thirty years marrying, raising 5 daughters and becoming a leading figure in Xinjiang, national and Beijing art circles. The Zhang family and fellow artists visited oasis towns along The Silk Road beginning in central China and the network of trade routes across the Asian continent, connecting East, South, and Western Asia with the Mediterranean world, Africa and Europe. He observed and painted the nomadic peoples and bazaars from dozens of tribal societies, different regions and origins. In Xinjiang they explored the Silk Route cities of Kashgar, Turphan, Hotan the wilds of the Pamirs, Kunlun Mountain, Altay Mountain, Kumul, Snow Mountain Yili River the trails and tracks of the Tarim Basin and the Turpan Depression for art material and inspiration.
A 1983 “Tianchi” painting (“Heaven Lake” or “Heavenly Lake alpine lake paintings,) still hangs in Xinjiang Branch of People’s Congress Hall. Wei Zhang “Tianchi” paintings are sought after and have been collected by the Xinjiang Airport, Xinjiang Exhibition and Urumqi City Hall. His paintings of “Tianchi” are of various designs, styles and conceptions and he is dubbed the specialist of “Tianchi”. During the 80’s, Zhang’s oil paintings of Xinjiang were widely collected by the government and published in National Press, Painting Newspaper Press and magazines.
Wei Zhang served as an Art Editor at the Xinjiang (1954-1957) and Pictorial Magazine from (1957-1962), and from 1962 was Art Editor of the Xinjiang Daily Newspaper. From 1962 to 1983, he worked as art editor in Xinjiang Pictorial and Xinjiang Studio of Art.
His paintings can be divided into two periods. The first period includes his paintings which span thirty years in Central Asia. The second part includes the paintings after he immigrated to Australia at the beginning of 1980′s.
In 1983, the Zhang family migrated from Urumqi to Adelaide, South Australia, (10,095 kilometers) to another isolated city in the driest state in the driest continent at the other end of the world. Adelaide is an outpost just like Urumqi. Zhang found himself impacted by enormous differences in local culture, language, political climate, distance and traveling times. The impact of the family traveling from one geographically isolated outpost to another heavily influenced Wei Zhang’s themes. The family soon adapted and overcome adversity as they had done in the past and soon they had become part of the local art and business community.
Wei Zhang has participated in major exhibitions and international seminars in art spaces as diverse as the Asian Masters Gallery, Jular Lumpur, Malaysia, Tian Fu Art Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan, to the Art Gallery of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, China and the Adelaide Town Hall. Many of Mr. Zhang’s pieces have been acquired by corporate and private collectors in China, Taiwan, Japan, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, UK and his paintings in water colors and oil landscapes have been auctioned, collected and exhibited in Australia.
Wei Zhang’s art has been collected by well recognized Chinese institutes such as the Beijing Paramount (Zhi Gao) Art Gallery, the Beijing Military Museum of China, the Xinjiang Artists Association, the Chinese Painting Institute of Xinjiang as well as individual collectors, investors and enthusiasts. Wei Zhang’s oil painting “The Autumn in the Great Wall” was displayed in the Beijing Paramount Art Gallery to promote the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games by displaying one hundred paintings reflecting the Great Wall.