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Artist donates pieces to Richmond charity

By Samuel Cheng

Published 4:05 PDT, Fri May 13, 2022

World-renowned artist Cecilia Aisin-Gioro will be in Richmond on Sunday to attend a Vancouver Sunshine Lions Club fundraising gala and donate three pieces of her art.

Born in Changchun, China, Aisin-Gioro spent her early years with her grandmother in a little village before moving to Beijing with her aunt’s family. A descendant of the Qing Dynasty royal family in China, Aisin-Gioro was taught that peace is a blessing and to maintain a low profile. 

After travelling to many different countries, she finally settled in Vancouver after its climate, multiculturalism, and ethnic inclusiveness ultimately captured her heart. 

Aisin-Gioro’s royal family background impacts the art she creates. 

“Many of my early works are mostly themes of sadness, nostalgia, and loss,” says Aisin-Gioro. “The dark colour or background of these pictures may have been influenced by the tragic history of my family.” 

She tries to utilize brighter colours and more cheerful elements in her works to alleviate the feeling of sorrow. 

“My art is a visible creation that comes from the invisible language (that) I see around people, stories, inner worlds, passions, instincts, and consciousness,” says Aisin-Gioro. 

She credits her grandmother for providing her with the motivation to pursue art. 

“Art can tell people what you can’t put into words. When you feel hopeless, art can make you stronger. When you are lost, art will remind you who you are,” she says. 

Other mentors, including her great-uncle as well as oil painting master YiFei Chen, provided a strong backbone that Aisin-Gioro describes as “a guiding light at midnight for me to follow.” 

With years of oil painting experience, Aisin-Gioro chose this style over the traditional Chinese style of painting because she feels that the layered colours of oil painting express more emotion and power. 

“The expressive power of colour and the emotional power it generates can directly build a bridge of communication between the minds of the artist and the audience,” says Aisin-Gioro. 

She doesn’t paint every day, but tries to follow a personalized schedule. 

“I pick up my brush when I feel very strong feelings and (am) inspired,” says Aisin-Gioro. “Once I pick it up, I cannot put it down, probably from early morning to late night for months.”

Aisin-Gioro also likes to revisit her works after they are finished, looking for imperfections to retouch and repaint colours and details. 

Focus is the name of Aisin-Gioro’s favourite artwork among all of her paintings, as it depicts many moments when she experimented with something new. Heavy texture is used as the background, featuring the colour Chinese Red. 

She cites Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens as her favourite, describing his style of painting as majestic, colourful, dynamic, and powerful. 

Aisin-Gioro’s artworks constantly explore the combination of Eastern and Western cultures to create something more contemporary. Her imagination leads her to step outside her own cultural background. 

Being an artist has changed Aisin-Gioro’s outlook on life; she appreciates the added freedom and ability to express emotions. Her lifestyle now is a stark contrast from her upbringing, which she describes as being bound by rules and the need to please others. 

In order to be a successful artist, Aisin-Gioro says it’s important to stay true to yourself. There’s no need to change your style of art to satisfy another person’s expectations. Believe in yourself and put in the effort and practice to improve as an artist.

“Avoid evaluating yourself by entering competitions or winning awards, or seeking validation at art club events, because sometimes you may not be judged as (being as) good as you actually are,” says Aisin-Gioro.

In the future, Aisin-Gioro plans to gradually stop doing commissioned paintings, as she is working on hosting a solo exhibition in Europe that revolves around an abstract series. 

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