“Is There Something Wrong with the Earth?” — Chinese Painter Lu Zhide Back in Vienna

The Chinese painter Lu Zhide who had lived in Vienna for years before returning to his hometown Shanghai, came to Europe this fall with his paintings on the topic of environment. Touring through Switzerland, Germany, and Austria, he put his energy on awakening people’s awareness to care for the environment, our mother Earth.

This September 25th, Mr. Lu released a new collection of environmental paintings in Shanghai entitled “Is There Something Wrong with the Earth?”. On October 7th, “Is There Something Wrong with the Earth?” was exhibited at the Cat Art Center in Como, Switzerland. Three days later, on October 10th, he arrived at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, Germany, holding a discussion on environmental protection with the German university students.

As is well known, the global climate is changing. The sea level is rising. Climate-related natural disasters are frequent. Desertification is eating up the soil on the surface of the Earth at a rate of 50,000-70,000 square kilometers per year. Environmental protection cannot be delayed any more. With this on mind, Mr. Lu paints his works deeply reflecting his concern. 

On October 15th, Mr. returned to his second hometown, Vienna, welcomed by Mr. Zhou Zhiyong, President of the Vienna Shanghai Fellow Countryman’s Association. Mr. Zhou arranged a symposium on “Is the Earth in Trouble? — Environmental Painting Exhibition by Lu Zhide” in the quaint banquet room on the premise of his “Mom’s Restaurant”. Mr. Zhou highly praised the painter for his touring exhibition on the theme of environmental protection. He said that the Chinese living in Austria deeply appreciate the excellent environmental protection. On the banks of the Blue Danube, Vienna has repeatedly been rated as the world’s most livable city, also due to the keen environmental awareness of its inhabitants.  

Chang Hui, a well-known Austrian cultural figure, is an old friend of Lu Zhide’s. She said that when she first saw Lu Zhide sketching in 1996 at the garden of Schönbrunn Palace, she already felt that the painter had a very Shanghainese style, plus the influence of the Austrian “Fantastischer Realismus”. She complimented on his humanistic sentiment expressed through his art in the following years. Mr. Lu painted a lot about the Jewish refugees settling in Shanghai during the Second World War. His album “Jewish Refugees in Shanghai” participated in the Frankfurt International Book Fair and got a Grand Prize, a pride of the overseas Chinese diaspora. She praised Lu Zhide’s series of paintings on environment, too.  “Sometimes, the words of an artist can speak louder than those of a politician,” Chang Hui said.

Invited by the Austrian State as a visiting scholar, Mr. Li Lei, former executive director of the Shanghai Art Museum, was also present at the symposium.  He highly praised Mr. Lu’s art tour on “Is there something wrong with the Earth?”. As a painter, he said, Mr. Lu is voicing with his artist sensitivity and passion about the global environmental issues. It is not easy! But Lu is doing it. He is using the Eastern philosophical language in combination with the Western style as art form in order to allow more people to pay attention to his art and its messages on environmental protection. Art has no borders, and art has unlimited power to spread, Mr. Li said. He wished Lu’s environmental painting exhibition success and joy.

Anna, President of the Vienna Shanghai Fellow Countryman’s Association, also spoke on behalf of the TCM practitioners in Vienna. We have been promoting Chinese culture and its heritage with a gold needle, she said. Her Austrian and Turkish friends who came to Mr. Lu’s exhibition all liked his art very much. “We are all children of our mother Earth,” she added, “the beautiful environmental paintings arouse everyone’s dream to have a healthy world, a world in harmony, a world where people like each other!”

The 93-year-old music Professor Walter Fleischmann at mdw and his student Zhang Liming from Salzburg participated in the symposium, too. Professor Fleischmann highly evaluated Mr. Lu’s art language and praised his active involvement for the environment, saying that art and music are forms of spiritual fusion, compiling new songs for the world. Everybody should have a role to play here to help our Mother Nature to sustain. 

Shanghai Overseas Chinese Federation Chairman Qi Quansheng sent his congratulations to Mr. Lu Zhide from Shanghai, wishing his painting exhibition/symposium in Vienna success. Mr. Qi also expressed his sincere thanks to all the compatriots who support Mr. Lu’s environmental concerns.

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