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'Beestly Spotlight: Kevin Mao '27

'Beestly Spotlight: Kevin Mao '27

If you find yourself on the 3rd floor of Pen y Bryn Upper School this spring, you will encounter a gorgeous display of Chinese watercolor and calligraphy art. The artist, SSFS boarding student Kevin Mao (Class of 2027), has been practicing Chinese calligraphy since the age of five; his works have won many awards and have been displayed in a number of exhibits. Below, Kevin provides some background about his art and family.

Chinese Watercolor & Calligraphy

by Kevin Mao (Mao Hai Xu), Class of 2027

I like Chinese calligraphy and traditional Chinese painting, which is derived from the family. My grandfather is a very respected doctor in China. His dream since childhood was to become a painter, but later, he saw that the people around him were constantly suffering from illness, so he studied medicine and became an excellent doctor. However, while he was doing medicine, he did not give up his preferences, so I learned calligraphy and traditional Chinese painting from my grandfather when I was a child, which brought me an appreciation and interest in beautiful things.

Kevin Mao - Chinese Painting

I have been practicing Chinese calligraphy since I was 5 years old, and I am proficient in official script, regular script, and running script. I began to practice Chinese painting at the age of 6. A lot of achievements have been made in both art methods. At the age of 7, the calligraphy fan works were exhibited at the first Fan Calligraphy Art Festival of the Primary School Affiliated with Renmin University. It was the only two works in the school to be selected for exhibition. In June 2015, I won first place in the painting and calligraphy competition for primary and secondary school students in China. The 2016 Beijing Haidian District Art Festival Soft Pen Calligraphy Competition won third place. I won first place in the 2017 Beijing Haidian District Art Festival Soft Pen Calligraphy Competition. The 2018 Beijing Haidian District Art Festival Soft Pen Calligraphy Competition won first place—the highest level of passing the Chinese calligraphy examination in 2019: Level 10. The work "Creative Lantern," produced and painted in 2017, was selected as "Chinese Stories under Children's Brushes" and published on the 16th page of Modern Education News. Modern Education News is the most authoritative educational publication in China, with a circulation of 300,000 copies per issue. In 2018, the Chinese traditional Chinese painting, flower, and bird art examination passed level 6.

On April 12, 2019, calligraphy and painting works were invited to be exhibited at the "Yi Cheng Guo Yun" Excellent Intangible Cultural Heritage Exhibition. Exhibition Address: Daoxiang Lake Exhibition Centre, Haidian District, Beijing. On November 7, 2019, calligraphy and painting works were invited to the primary school affiliated with Renmin University to exhibit the calligraphy and painting exhibition "Wen and Rixin, Shuzan Huaxia." Exhibition address: Beijing Yanhuang Art Museum. On December 13, 2019, calligraphy and painting works were invited to the primary school affiliated with Renmin University of China. "Children Painting Kyushu" celebrates the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China and the 65th anniversary of the school's founding.

Many of my works have been permanently collected by the Primary School Affiliated to Renmin University.

Practicing Chinese calligraphy and painting can make people feel calm, and it can bring happiness to people. I like this kind of creative process very much. Now that I have joined the SSFS family, I am happy to introduce this artistic expression from China to the whole school by exhibiting my artworks, such as the Scribe Script. This ancient calligraphic art form has existed for more than 1,300 years and is a marvelous and ancient artistic miracle that one can marvel at. Practicing Chinese calligraphy and painting brings peace and joy, and I enjoy the creative process.

Kevin’s Chinese watercolor paintings will be displayed on the third floor of Pen y Bryn Upper School until the end of the 2023-2024 school year. 

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