Qu Leilei is a founder of the Stars Art Movement. When he told me his story it inspired me to write Brushstrokes in Time. Recording the trial of democracy leader Wei Jingsheng (1979) catapulted his life into nightmare. (again) He left China for the UK in 1985. Like most refugees he had to start all over again. He earned his living as a pavement artist in Piccadilly Circus, washing dishes in Chinese restaurants, cleaning houses and typing translations in Mandarin. Quite a journey to becoming an internationally acknowledged master! The late Michael Sullivan (1916-2013), who founded the gallery on the ground floor of the Ashmolean where the exhibition takes place, said of Qu Leilei: “What sets Leilei apart is the strength and depth of his feelings for people his warm heart, his generosity that sees the essential nobility of us all.” We need a lot more of that spirit! You can read his castaway feature here. I tell it as 9 lives! Qu Leilei Castaway
Leilei is not the only Chinese artist with connections to Oxford. Brushstrokes in Time OLE
Qu Leilei’s castaway feature (Oxford Castaways 3) has been translated into Mandarin. Read it here.
Qu Leilei feature in Mandarin
Below are 2 of the paintings from the exhibition