24 August 2019
"My father is Li Gang" is one of the incidents Dai Xiang  inserted in the scroll. Photo:
"My father is Li Gang" is one of the incidents Dai Xiang inserted in the scroll. Photo:

Update of classic painting pokes fun at China’s social ills

A cheeky, updated version of a classic 12th century Chinese painting has captured the imagination of mainland netizens.

The 2013 version of The Qingming Scroll, also known as Along the River During the Qingming Festival, is on show at a photography festival in Guangdong province, Ming Pao Daily reported Tuesday.

The original version of one of the most famous Chinese paintings captures the everyday life of people going about their business in Bianjing, capital of the Song Dynasty (960-1279), during Tomb-Sweeping Day in early April.

The scroll, 25.5 cm high and 5.25 metres in length, features hundreds of people and many boats, animals and buildings.

Dai Xiang, an artist and photographer, spent two-and-a-half years on his version, which parodies the original by highlighting the social ills of modern China.

Apart from Dai and his co-workers, photographs of people and incidents at the center of several recent controversies in Chinese society have been inserted into the painting.

One section of the piece captures the infamous “Li Gang incident” in 2010, when a young man shouted “My father is Li Gang!” to those who were trying to arrest him after the car he was driving killed one student and severely injured another in an accident. Li Gang was the deputy police chief in the district of Baoding in Hebei province.

The artwork also features the anti-prostitution campaign police launched in Dongguan city in Guangdong in February and Guo Meimei, who became an object of scorn and dented the credibility of the Red Cross Society of China, of which she claimed to be an official, by flaunting her wealth online. Guo was arrested in July in Beijing for illegal soccer betting.

The updated artwork has generated an enormous number of repostings and comments on Weibo, the miniblog platform.

Dai said he hopes his work can help move society forward.

Along the River During the Qingming Festival 2013, made up of hundreds of photographic images, is being exhibited at this year’s Lianzhou Foto, an annual photography festival held in Lianzhou in Guangdong, from Nov. 21 to Dec. 12.

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The updated artwork also features the anti-prostitution campaign Dongguan police launched in February. Photo:

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