The Saturday Profile: Carving Plight of Coal Miners, He Churns China – Howard W. French

The New York Times sculptor Zhang Jianhua, whose work portraying coal miners has not been welcomed by the authorities:

Although Mr. Zhang, 35, has an impeccable background as a student of the Central Academy of Fine Arts and has received critical praise for years, no Chinese museum or established gallery has been willing to display his coal miner work in its entirety, as he insists that they must. When an exhibit was organized in April at 798 Art Space, one of Beijing’s premier forums for contemporary artists, censors demanded that he leave the six dead workers out of the show.

Officially, 4,794 coal miners died in work-related accidents in China last year ” more than 13 every day, on average, though many believe that the official figures understate the real toll. But Mr. Zhang’s temerity in representing the victims has won his work what might be called a soft ban. [Full text]

(Photo by Chang W. Lee via The New York Times)

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