From a very early age, Cui Jie was obviously a very gifted artist, and she continues to develop her style now that she is in her mid-30’s. Jie was born in Shanghai, China and eventually ended up studying and honing her craft at the China Academy of Art in the Oil Painting Department. While she now lives in Beijing, China, she is not a total unknown to the Western world, with the Wall Street Journal going as far as to describe her as one of “China’s rising art stars.”Over the years, the style and subject matter of Jie’s work has changed a little, with her latest work perhaps being the most intriguing. She has spoken about synesthesia, which is essentially when people see a color when they hear a specific sound. She is looking at introducing that idea into her current way of working as opposed to going off on a totally different tangent to explore the connection between sound and visuals. People unfamiliar with the work that Jie delivers may be interested to hear about how she comes up with her ideas. The art for which she is best known involves looking at sculptures and buildings within the parts of China where she has lived and worked, and then creating a painting of those structures, but from a very different viewpoint than what you would get from looking at them at street level. She often talks about the texture and surfaces of the structures and buildings in question, but rather than taking a hands-on approach, Jie will let the reflections off these surfaces, and the feelings and emotions they invoke, guide her once she decides to put paint to canvas. The end result of this truly Modernist approach to art are pieces that are stunning to look at. With your first look, you can clearly see the sculptures and buildings as separate pieces, but the more you look, the more they seem to merge and become one and the same. There is a familiarity there, especially for those who have been to those cities and seen the subjects, yet you also feel as though you are viewing these pieces from an angle that you couldn’t get to in the real world. JIe is of the belief that architecture experiences the passing of time in much the same way as humans do, so she sees here take on the structures that she uses in her art as a way of re-shaping that history. It’s an incredibly exciting concept that very much shines through in every piece that she creates. Given her past, we can certainly expect her to start incorporating new styles and techniques in the future, which is a truly exciting thought for lovers of her art.
Lake Titicaca is the largest lake in South America and the highest navigable lake in the world. It’s large enough to contain both natural islands, farmed in the same way for centuries, as well as artificial ones.Titicaca has an elevation of more than 12,500 feet above sea level, an altitude so high visitors can at first find it difficult to catch their breath. On the border between Peru and Bolivia, the lake lies high in the Andes Mountains, providing incredible panoramic views of snow-clad mountains by day and superb opportunities for star gazing at night because of the thin atmosphere and lack of light pollution.But Lake Titicaca gets its status as a visually-stunning location due to the very humble totora reeds that grow in the lake’s shallows. Not only do these reeds provide nesting opportunities for a variety of bird species, including the flightless Titicaca grebe, but they have also been integral to human habitation of the area.Inca ruins can be found on many of the lake’s natural islands, reached by reed boats found nowhere else. However the Uru people went one further, and created whole islands from the reeds. Initially constructed in pre-Colombian times to protect the Uru from attack, the largest of these islands are just half the size of a football field. They contain at least one reed-built structure housing an extended family, while some also incorporated watchtowers constructed from the reeds. Traditionally, they would be found far out in the center of the lake, up to ten miles from shore, but are often now much closer to the shallows. Sixty or so remain, housing 1200 Uru people who hunt and fish in a traditional way as well as making textiles for visitors.So important are textiles to the region that another tribe, the Taquile, have been awarded intangible heritage status by UNESCO for them. Local wool is formed into yarn by the women of the community and then knitted into textiles solely by its men.
There is a temple in Thailand, in the Chiang Rai Province that stands out from all other temples in the country. This stunning architectural masterpiece is known as the Wat Rong Khun and it was built by the artist Chalermchai Kositpipat. His intention was to build a temple where people can practice meditation and learn about Buddha and his teaching. All around the world is dubbed as The White Temple because it is built from white plaster mixed with thousand little glass pieces inside that sparkle in the sun. It is different from the other Thai temples first of all because it’s white and not golden like it should be traditionally, and it was built by an artist who used his own imagination to create his own visual understanding of the Buddha teachings. To date, the temple is not finished and Kositpipat is still adding parts to make it even more stunning. It is considered more like an art exhibit because there are so many unusual things to be seen inside and around the temple which make the visitors’ tour even more interesting. The main building is known as the ubosot and it can be reached by crossing a bridge installed upon a small lake. The bridge is dubbed as the cycle of rebirth and in front of it is one of the most bizarre art pieces in the place. Hundreds of hands are reaching out trying to grab something. This piece represents the suffering souls in hell who were greedy during their lifetime. After crossing this remarkable scene the visitors stand in front of the ubosot and have to cross the “Gate of Heaven” to enter. The most unexpected and fun part begins when they go inside. There are many murals that depict famous people and fantasy characters. Michael Jackson, Harry Potter, Neo from The Matrix, Captain Jack Sparrow, Hello Kitty, Elvis, Superman, and even Freddy Krueger are gathered together on the walls which makes the temple even more unusual. Kositpipat decided to add his favorite characters in the temple because they are also a part of who he is. His plan is to add more buildings around so they will be nine when he finishes the place completely. One of the planned buildings will be reserved for Buddhist monks who can use it whenever they come to visit the Chiang Rai Province. On 5th May 2014, the temple was damaged by an earthquake and Kositpipat wanted to close it indefinitely for safety reasons. But, after a team of engineers came to inspect the place and confirmed that the structure was not that damaged from the quake, he continued with work as before. Some buildings are still not open to the public like the ubosot, but the owner allows visitors to come and see it from the outside. Hopefully, he will finish his project as planned and it will be even more exciting to visit.