Appreciation for Chinese ink painting is growing, but much of the art form remains unexplored. An ink painting comes into being when ink meets paper. But the role of the latter in shaping or responding to an artist’s style is often overlooked. Revered artist Liu Dan has observed that the “language of ink” is created by a group of people—the papermaker, brushmaker and maker of ink. In the era of the “rockstar” artist, the role of paper and papermaking is often overlooked.
UNSUNG HEROES OF INK seeks to redress this balance. We hear artists Liu Dan and Shao Fan explain how xuan paper shapes their work. We also see their collaborators—craftspeople in the remote Jing County, Anhui Province, who use ancient methods to hand-produce xuan paper. The craftspeople, who have spent a lifetime honing their skills, are the “unsung heroes of ink”.
Olivia Wang 汪鈴
Producer & Director
UNSUNG HEROES OF INK is Olivia Wang’s debut documentary, which she directed and produced.
Based in Hong Kong, Olivia is an independent art curator, consultant and writer, with over twelve years of industry experience. Her writing on contemporary Chinese ink art has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, ArtAsiaPacific, Orientations, Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art, among others. See her writing here.
Olivia holds a BA from Brown University and MPhil from Oxford University.
Vincent Du 杜海
Director of Photography
As director and/or cinematographer, Vincent Du has made four documentaries for Al Jazeera English. His fiction film Five to Nine (2015), co-produced with three other Asian directors has been screened at the Singapore International Film Festival, and the Taiwan Golden Horse Film Festival. Vincent now teaches documentary at the Journalism School of Tianjin Normal University.
Bob Lee 李博
Bob Lee is a Beijing-based non-fiction-film editor. His most recent film Our Time Machine premiered at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival. He was co-editor of Plastic China (2016), which won the Best Editing Award at the 2017 Golden Horse Film Festival, and was selected at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. Other recent works include The Hammer And Sickle Are Sleeping (Best Short Fiction Film, 2014, Golden Horse Awards), and Please Remember Me (2015).
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