Between Spheres — Opening Speech

On October 24th, 2011

Ladies & gentlemen,

Welcome to this marvelous exhibition entitled “Between Spheres”, a stunning display of recent works by Yaping Jiang.

When Yaping asked me to officially open her exhibition, she knew that I would not spend too much time describing her works to you.  Her paintings speak for themselves of a unique talent.

I would much rather tell you the story of the journey Yaping has had to travel to arrive at this point.  After coming to Australia in the late 80’s, with a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the Sichuan Institute of Fine Arts, Yaping wasted no time in working hard to gain her Diploma in Art Education in Melbourne.

Fifteen years ago I joined a group of eight women artists who decided to meet weekly and paint together. Yaping was one of them.  As the years rolled on, we became more than just painting partners.  A deep friendship has developed – we share our highs and lows, and invite healthy criticism of each other’s work, which has proved to be invaluable.  A fair measure of praise as well – so important in the climate of uncertainty and self doubt that is the artist’s life.

In the beginning, Yaping was the quiet one of the group, diligently working whilst the rest of us took more than the one tea break!  Her language skills developed rapidly (no doubt due to our incessant chattering!), as did her confidence and social skills in dealing with a new environment.

Today, she can look back on having built a successful art school for hundreds of junior students, raising a fine son, and producing a great collection of exquisite paintings. What an achievement!!!

To reflect on Yaping’s life, is also to recognize the importance of her partner John, who came into her life at just the right time. He shares her passion for art, and they have together immersed themselves in the great galleries of Europe, North America and of course Australia. John took Yaping on a three weeks trek through the Kimberleys. which had a deep influence on her.  Subsequent paintings reflected the spiritual nature and the unique beauty of this ancient land.  The series was a great success, featuring a rare blend of two entirely different cultures. A friend of mine who bought one of these works, is still in awe of the mystique Yaping managed to portray.

The collection you see here tonight is evidence of that mystique.  Having witnessed the beginning and end of a work by Yaping, it is amazing to think that a painting is conceived in an initial abstract stage, but slowly emerges to its totally fascinating and emotionally exciting form.  I believe they are truly unique.

In closing, I am mindful of the group of successful Chinese artists we have here in Australia.  Yaping has deserved her success, all the more impressive because she is a woman and a mother.  Yaping, from the group and myself, and all of us here, we wish you continued success.

Thank you!

Karin Roddy