Cao Yong 曹勇 is a Chinese artist whose work depicts Tibet. He spent a year alone in the mountains of Tibet, and the paintings he produced were exhibited in Beijing in early 1989. He was subsequently arrested by the Chinese Authorities with the Beijing Police burning seven of the paintings.
He escaped with his fiancée Aya Goda to Japan. Cao Yong's canvases evoke the essence of some of the most delightful places on earth. Although Cao Yong was formally educated in China, the artist achieved maturity during seven years of self-exile in Tibet. Then he left for Japan, where he quickly became that nation's most honored muralist. Later, he immigrated to America, in this nation know for her freedom of expression, Cao Yong has transferred to an artist who dedicates to the love of nature and passion for life through artwork.
In 1962, at the height of the great famine in China, an extraordinarily gifted child was born into hardship in Xinxian, a small town in Henan Province. Cao Yong's family, already struggling to find enough to eat, was suspected of disloyalty to the new government simply because a great-grandparent had once owned land, real estate, and banks, and because a grandparent had been a warlord.
During the Cultural Revolution, this background singled the family out for harsh treatment by the Chinese authorities. Cao Yong's family was ostracized, refused residency permits, and even denied food. While other young children of his age started kindergarten, little Cao Yong began working. At age five, Cao Yong found himself ferrying heavy baskets of gravel at a construction site. One day a rock pit caved in, nearly crushing the tiny boy to death under the rubble. Luckily, Cao Yong survived. It was through drawing that Cao Yong found peace and consolation in those difficult years, and at age eleven his talent was recognized.
He began studying with the noted artist Yu Ren from Beijing, who worked briefly in Xinxian. The shadow of ostracism followed him even to art classes, but Cao Yong's remarkable persistence challenged him to paint, and to paint better, each day. In order to buy art supplies, he pawned his winter clothes in summer, his summer clothes in winter, and often skipped meals. He painted on any material he could find: scraps of used wrapping paper, newspaper, discarded wooden boards. When his mother brought him a bundle of dirty cloth which she had begged a shop clerk to give to her, Cao Yong burst into tears of joy: at last he had canvas!
Il pittore Cinese Cao Yong 曹勇 è nato in un piccolo paese della Cina nel 1962, al tempo della grande carestia. Vita tribolata la sua, perchè la sua famiglia non era gradita al regime e il giovane Yong, tra mille difficoltà e umiliazioni, ha potuto iniziare la sua formazione in pittura che aveva solo 11 anni. Un talento precoce. Ha trascorso un anno da solo tra le montagne del Tibet, e le pitture che ha prodotto sono state esposte a Pechino all’inizio del 1989. E’ stato arrestato dalle autorità cinesi e la polizia di Pechino ha bruciato ben sette dei suoi dipinti. Così è fuggito dapprima in Giappone e poi, nel 1994, ha deciso di trasferirsi negli Stati Uniti, per poter esprimere liberamente la propria arte.
Il tempo vissuto in Tibet, in una sorta di auto-esilio, ha impresso un segno molto forte alla sua personalità di artista e di uomo. Per copiare i resti di antichi dipinti tibetani murali, Cao Yong, accompagnato solo da un cavallo, un cane e un fucile per la caccia, ha vissuto in completa solitudine dentro grotte di montagna primitive per quasi un anno intero. Un’esperienza epica, leggendaria, che gli ha permesso di sviluppare una profonda comprensione del collegamento tra il naturale e l’umano, così come tra il secolare e lo spirituale. È questa comprensione, questa fusione di opposti, che si respira nei suoi bellissimi dipinti, e fa sì che il suo lavoro sia molto potente e, nel senso più classico, romantico.