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Wednesday, January 03, 2018, 17:30
Art exhibition raises funds to feed homeless cats
By Li Yingxue
Wednesday, January 03, 2018, 17:30 By Li Yingxue

A selection of the on display at the exhibition. (PHOTO BY LI YINGXUE / CHINA DAILY)

Seven artists are sitting in a row drawing cats, and each of them has only 30 minutes to complete their paintings.

With 10 minutes left, Ouyang Pengjie signs his name on his completed painting. He has drawn a cat walking on grass.

Once the time is up, seven different cats appear on sheets of paper.

The session is a demonstration of art at the opening ceremony of a charity exhibition about cats at the Liahona Art Space in Beijing on Dec 16.

At the show, more than 20 artists who are also cat lovers showcase more than 300 works, including paintings, sand bottle artworks and sculptures.

Ouyang, a 27-year-old painter, brings a painting called Mrs Meow to the show.

He used to be addicted to computer games before he fell in love with drawing 10 years ago.

He now has his own art studio and is one of the most popular livestreaming hosts in China.

Unlike most hosts who talk or sing live, he just places a camera in front of him when he is drawing.

Mrs Meow is one of the works he completed when he was livestreaming.

Ouyang has a cat named Xiaogongju, which was a gift from a fan a year ago.

"I loved cats before I got Xiaogongju, and now I love them even more," says Ouyang.

"Cats give me inspiration. Drawing can be a lonely path, so I really enjoy the company of my cat. He likes to lie on my desk when I am drawing. If I feel tired, I just play with him for a while."

Ouyang Pengjie and his piece, Mrs Meow, at the charity exhibition on Dec 16 in Beijing. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)

Another painter Li Baogen displays his sand bottle artworks at the show.

Based in Shijiazhuang, Hebei province, Li also runs a startup company besides doing sand bottle art. He learned this art form two years ago when he was looking for a handmade gift for his cousin's birthday.

He says sand bottle art brings him inner peace and helps him overcome anxiety.

Sand bottle artists have to be cautious and focused - as one minor error means they have to start over again, says Li.

Li created five pieces especially for this exhibition, with one of them based on his cat Pidan.

Li likes to observe his cat eating and walking. "It's the beauty of nature," says Li.

Artist Zhang He has two sculptures inspired by his cats, at the show. One is called Xiaopeng, based on a cat he adopted 11 years ago.

"He was skinny and always had some leaves on his tail. But now he is a big cat, weighing around 10 kilograms," says Zhang.

Zhang's other work is called We Only Have Each Other, which features two cats cuddling in a box.

The exhibition is hosted by Together for Animals in China, an animal protection charity.

The seven paintings created at the opening ceremony have been auctioned off for charity. Some of the exhibited works will also be auctioned at a later date, and the money from the ticket sales of the exhibition will also go to the charity.

The charity has been hosting the Bringing Alley Cats' New Year Dinner event for five years, but this year is the first time it has raised money through an art show.

Liu Xiaoli, the founder of Together for Animals in China, says the charity uses the money to buy cat food and deliver it to volunteers who look after homeless cats - those "who can hardly survive, especially in winter time".

Wang Zhibin, the owner of Liahona Art Space, is also a volunteer for Together for Animals in China.

"We want to help the cats in artistic ways, and also bring art into life," says Wang.

If you go

10:30 am-7:30 pm, until Jan 16. Liahona Art Space, 2nd floor of No 6 shopping mall at Sanlitun Soho, 8 Gongti Beilu, Chaoyang district, Beijing. 010-6581-0571.

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