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A journey through Asian art


Episode 7: Art and the state

Communist Chinese art was heavily influenced by Russian painting. The Chinese adopted the European idea of history painting, a painting that seemingly depicts an historical event, but in fact is designed to display the power of the regime.

Alison Carroll investigates the Dong Xiwen painting, Mao declaring the Communist People’s Republic from Tiananmen Square, a history painting of in which key characters were painted in and out depending upon whether they were in favour.

Alison Carroll talks to Shen Jiawei a key artist working for the Cultural Revolution. He tells the story of a painting he created and how it too was painted over to better suit the communist agenda.

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